The Pogrom | Merril D. Smith

She hid in a haystack—

she climbed into a barrel—

she crawled
into a narrow space

in the now long-vanished barn,
where she became invisible.

Time has fogged the details
in haze, of blaze and cries–

hushed the terror—the whys–
the child, my grandmother,

must have felt
as she heard the boots,

the screams,
the fire’s thunder-roar,

soaring reverberations
almost forgotten

trauma buried deep,
but there, waiting to be sparked,

awakened from smoldering ashes
to flame into a mass in her brain–

and do I carry
within me the burnt ruins

of that long-ago pogrom–
an incipient conflagration–

who knows

but the wisdom of generations
yet flows through my blood.

Merril D. Smith is an independent scholar with a Ph.D. in American History and numerous books on history and gender issues. She is currently working on a book on sexual harassment and a collection of poetry. Her poetry and stories have appeared recently in Rhythm & Bones, Vita Brevis, Streetlight Press, Ghost City, Twist in Time, and Mojave Heart Review.

Her blog is at and she can be found on Twitter @merril_mds and Instagram @mdsmithnj

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