by Cindy Huyser

After the election, when neo-Nazis
sieg-heiled in hotel ballrooms and New York
subway windows were blackened with swastikas
and remarks about Jews and ovens, some nights
I’d wake at 3:00 a.m., rehearsing
the logic I’d use to sway my senator
if only I could get him to listen, some nights

remember the kindness of strangers
when we married: all those straight people
genuinely happy for us—the rabbi
who discounted his fee
“because you had to wait so long,”
my aunt and cousins, my sister, my father-in-law,
and I’d feel the situation wasn’t so dire

though my other sister tells me God
through prayer can heal impure thoughts,
and the Westboro Baptists still protest
under “God hates fags”
while politician and pundit debate
whether people like me should exist,
and I find myself

thinking about the Jews of Germany,
that they were assimilated, that they had fought
for their country alongside their neighbors—their kindred—
who they never imagined would betray them, and I think

how fickle we are, how frail.
And then I remember the three hundred Jews
of Assisi, gap-hidden
between sanctuary and crypt,
the bogus documents printed for each one,
the German officer who heard their muffled footsteps
between the breaths of his daily prayers
and kept his silence—how not a single one of them

was taken, and how in the subway
the passengers took out tissue and hand sanitizer
and erased the marks of hatred.

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