Archival print on dibond, 36” x 25”
LET'S MEET SOMEDAY
I’m sorry we’re never going to meet. My hair is long and brown, my body pale and lean, my hands small. Can you see me now? You don’t have a voice, and my voice is strong, but it’s like I have no ears. But I can talk to you. How are you? I’m sorry things went as they did. We tried to escape. I’m not hurting you, am I? I trust that I’m not. We’re only words.
It’s been a hard year, but I wouldn’t trade it. I’ve given you so many voices: you’ve said “good morning” to the family every day. Does that make you happy? I just wanted you to be happy. If you told me, “I love you,” I’m sorry I didn’t say it back. I didn't hear.
I wanted you to see Café Kranzler in Charlottenburg, where the people smoke and chat. They serve the best ice cream! We were going to wear matching blue dresses and stars and wings on the avenues of Kurfürstendamm. The artists would write about us, paint us—remember us. You told Mommy one sunrise that you wanted wings. She asked why, and you told her that you wanted to be her Michael. She cried.
You must see the Spree. A young girl could play there, and men would not watch. I took you in my heart, and we laughed. And Museum Island—the Altes, the Neues—I was going to show you where our wings could hang! Where there could be beauty, not streets of broken glass.
Elohim. El Roi. Did you hear my prayer? I’m sorry we’re never going to meet. The boys told me that I was a pretty girl but not beautiful. The German girls disliked me, but you and I would have shared dresses. In the morning, in the dark. It’s sad that I will never hear you, but as long as you hear me, you’ll know which voice to seek.
Father said the Kabbalah suggests we may live again. He shared with us the knowledge of reincarnation that young girls are not to know. If we do live, let’s meet. We might not know we’re sisters, but I hope we’re at least friends. It scares me to think that we may not be. It scares me to hope for another life. But I don’t want to live afraid. None of us have time to live any less than we can. Let’s hope. Let’s meet someday.
* * *
When the Germans returned, they found a Jewish girl holding her dead mother around the waist. Soot collected on the girl’s open eyes; her ear rested on the large belly. Between her and the baby, there was only flesh.
A finalist for the 2020 UNO Press Lab Prize, O.G. Rose writes pieces interested in irony, misinterpretation, the subtle distinction between delusions and visions, and trade-offs between competing goods. Rose's creative works appear in The Write Launch, Allegory Ridge, Streetlight Magazine, Ponder Review, The Iowa Review Online, The William and Mary Review, Assure Press, and Poydras Review.
Eileen Neff formally studied literature and painting, and has been working with photo-based images and installations since 1980. She has been the recipient of several awards, the most recent being a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Her work is represented by the Bridgette Mayer Gallery.