Silhouette Speaks Truths

Image: Marc Chagall

Image: Marc Chagall

I am on my childhood playground, with a friend, we speak of our futures

uncertain of my own, I pick pollen capsules off my jeans 

and absentmindedly watch my figure fall to a silhouette on the pavement in shadow.

I think I’ll move to france, friend says

the dreamy Parisian towns of folktale and romance films spring to mind

yeah, that sounds cool, I reply, but my mind is already far gone 


I envision daily morning bike rides to the local patisserie,

and the calming reward of fresh choux.

no, my shadow scolds me 

remember, the silhouette says with a pointed finger, think of the danger

I envision daily morning bike rides to the local patisserie,

and my magen david pendant stands a target against my skin

onlookers watch it shine on my body, smiles twist to infuriated grimaces as I pass.

don’t be stupid, silhouette says with hand on hip, they’ll hate you 

I push shadow’s truths away, I’d rather be blissfully naive

I refuse to let the image of such ideal be tainted with.

surely

I think, 

such a place so blissfully infested

with lavender fields and satin red lips

couldn’t ever be so gruesome!


silhouette has no features, yet I know she smirks

silhouette has no eyes, yet I know she is rolling them


in my head I stroll down the lanes of Annecy along canals,

there, clear waters run like glass

you do know that they murdered a Holocaust survivor in her own home

the endurance of my attempted ignorance quivers,

for my soul has never truly ceased mourning

and I think of Mireille Knoll, may her memory be a blessing.

in my mind, my steps are painfully heavy with grief

as I walk to the cemetery to pay my respects

only to see Jewish gravestones are polluted with hatred.

there, painted swastikas swarm like angry hornets

they’ve come to sting the Jewish courage.

enmity boils in my blood at this thought, at the disrespect shown to my people!

stop being stupid, silhouette pleads

understand that there are things you must be aware of,

you are not like the others.

You can’t afford to be ignorant.

go away, I tell silhouette 

I simply want to fantasize about the world abroad without worry.

but it’s too late 

silhouette has leeched into my thoughts with her dreaded honesty.


among the lavender fields,

my nation is attacked in the streets for wearing our tichels and kippahs.

within the winding alleys of Bordeaux,

satin red lips spit toxic animosity in the faces of rabbis.

I try to find the strength to tell silhouette to go away once more,

but my ignorance has long worn out.

the innocent zero-point-seven percent are subjected

to more than sixty percent of a nation’s hatred.

my mind comes back to home, no longer far gone.

my places of worship are defiled and burned in the cities of greatest fancy

my mind comes back to home, finally abandoning the joys of naivety.


at the end of the day, long after silhouette pursues her absence

as moon wakes to rise above the clouds,

I am left to feel a special kind of envy.

I am left to be envious of those whose silhouettes mustn’t urge them 

to avoid tragically beautiful countries.

I long for, late at night,

the dreamy Parisian towns of folktale and romance films.

I long for the towns 

that would never 

want me.


Emily Kositsky