Nana's Diary

By Anna Whitehouse

I search for you
on every time mottled page,
the girl who gave my daughter
those dark Jewish eyes
that olive skin.
Your words suck me
into an echoing tunnel,
a carriage full of tear-stained faces
pressed against windows.

The faces dissolve
and I am walking
through smoke bitter streets.
Crowds surge forwards
as a flaming pyre of books
spits charred fragments
into the sky.
Then I see you
at the back of the crowd,
the girl who would not raise her arm
or repeat the words
Heil Hitler.

The past recedes
rolling up like a scroll
and I am here,
with only your words.
"Mum, what are you doing?"
It is my daughter
knocking softly at my bedroom door
and you,
smiling through her dark Jewish eyes.

legacy, memory, family rebellion