The conversations are now always variations
on a consistent theme.
You remind me that I was born
in Europe; that you grew up
in Slovakia, near the Danube;
that you enjoyed dancing and village parties,
that before the Germans invaded,
the Jewish shops were all closed on Saturdays
and on Sundays, open through their back doors.
You are still there, though when
the Russian armies liberated through conquest,
the world changed forever,
then forever again when
we arrived in Halifax and boarded
the train, which we travelled on
through night and birch forests until
we disembarked in Kitchener.
You are bitter about your unhappiness
with having had to come to Canada,
with the prejudice against European
refugees so soon after so many didn’t return
and you are bitter that I don’t share your feelings.
I was born in Germany, but I grew up
in Canada and I was educated here as well
and in experience, we are worlds apart.
Sometimes I think of our conversations
as those between two species; those who
ride the waves and those who crawled
onto the beach.
Neither is better, but there is no understanding in differences.