Cousins, I am tracking you
             to the ends of the virtual
      Earth. I am prowling midnight alleys of
of the Internet.  I am knocking on desperate doors,
        searching for files. I am obsessed. My family
                 says it’s unhealthy.  There is no web address
so distant that I won’t surf there. They know me
         at Yad Vashem. They call me by my first name
at the YIVO archives. Gomel State University, may I introduce
    myself? I am launching e-mail into the heavens like the
        Soviet space program of 1959. I am
Brookline’s first space dog, sniffing for
              celestial bones. In my mind, I have

  crossed the frozen Dniepr many times to find
        your home empty on the Byelorussian
                   shore. I have searched the snow on
your shtetl streets to find your
           footprints pointing....where?

Toward the east, to the Volga, and safety?
Toward the west, to Aushwicz, and death?

Like an avalanche, history buried you
          under metric tons of World Wars and pogroms,
   of revolutions and deportations, of partitions
and re-partitions. Now a conflict with Poland,
        now a war with Germany, now the Cossacks charge,
    and then like an iridescent exclamation point,
                   Chernobyl explodes–in your backyard, yet. Nu, where else?

Obscurity failed you. Did you manage to chuckle
               at your Jewish luck? Did you shrug your shoulders
     and make a little joke with God?
         Cousins, aunts and uncles, wait for me. I am tracking you, but
                            the snow is deep, and I am lost
                  in the absolute fog of time.

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
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