KONSTANTIN FISCHER, HANIA, CRETE
WHEN YOU COME HOME
For Victoria Fermon,
the only remaining Jew in the city of Hania, Crete
after the German roundup on May 19th 1944.
The entire community died on their way to Auschwitz.
When you come home,
late again, way after midnight,
to find your father waiting for you at the kitchen table.
And you know you are in trouble
when you can tell
by the look in his eyes
that he already knows about the young peasant Goy in your parea.
when you come home even later,
the next morning at dawn,
come home from that very village,
to be kept in the house for a week maybe, or ten days.
to hear about the eternal disgrace
to the family, to the community, to the city.
to hear, again, about your sister
who always..., who never...
You fear, no, you know
they will never let you see him again.
And on your way home
you picture yourself:
running to your room
locking the door –
and you hope, you just hope
nobody will be there when you come home:
you will enter the house all alone,
secretly recalling the memory of his skin.
What you don't expect
is to find all doors wide open,
you don't expect
the gaping windows
of the whole neighborhood to be staring at you
slamming shutters at night,
hollow, empty streets all day,
until other people move in
from other neighborhoods,
other parts of the city.
For one night,
one single night of pleasure,
to be sentenced
to almost forty shameful years
of lonely fading survival.
Konstantin Fischer, 2013