A poem that really moved me

written by fegeleh on Tumblr:

for the little Jewish child who learns of her inherited wretchedness through YouTube comments and the snide remarks of her goyische friends


mein kinder,

if no one prepares you
for the hatred that will come your way for daring to be born what you are,

there will be two ways you might react.

one is to internalise their hatred
to believe in your wretchedness
to learn to despise your otherness
and to use it:
to wear it like David’s shield

another is to attribute their hatred
to the grand injustice and wrongness of the world:
to believe their abuse is part of the natural order of things
and to accept it.

when you see the comments on YouTube
about your evil conspiratory plot to enslave the world,
do not wonder why you were left out of it.
do not consider yourself lesser than because you were not found good enough to be recruited into a resistance movement…
neshema sheli, there is none.

i know it will be tempting to laugh awkwardly
when your (goyische of course) best friend asks you,
“how many jews can fit in an ashtray?”
do not give him the satisfaction.
do not mistake his sadistic grin for a sign of his acceptance.
do not allow him to corner you into the role of “good jew.”
for if you do, you will not sleep that night.
instead you will spend hours looking at images
of inconceivably large piles of stolen shoes,
wedding rings,
skeletal bodies,
you will look at your father’s ashtray
and you will think: my grandma could fit inside.

and when your (goyische of course) lover tells you
there must be a reason why your people have been so viciously hated throughout history,
do not stay up all night considering your apparent wretchedness, and that of your ancestors.
do not wonder why your lover was lucky enough to be born to a more noble people,
do not let them make you forget your own wondrous nobility.

bubbeleh, do not let their hatred convince you of your wretchedness.
do not accept their own wretchedness as par for the course.
do not let them get away with it.
fight them, little one, fight until you can’t anymore.
your body was made to endure.
on your back is piled four thousand years’ worth of broken glass.
use it, and love it.
you are a warrior mosaic of pain and beauty and love and hardness and tenderness
and you deserve the world.

About Shira

Queer Jewish feminist author
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