a poem by Emma Rosenkranz
Ten always seemed like a perfect number to me,
Just like our yearly jewish Christmas tree.
Ten would be jumping through the halls between class,
The year I fly with my own boarding pass,
The year I would finally write a song,
the year I would learn to be strong.
My mother left her room,
Middle of the night,
My sister and brother held onto me tight;
We didn’t think it was happening,
That cancer had won my fathers battling.
It was my concert the next day,
I was supposed to sing the day away,
Just like any other ten year old,
Whose biggest fear is just catching a cold.
But no, I learned about grief and sorrow
And pushing yourself through each tomorrow.
I learned that loss never goes away,
You will be reminded of it each and every day.
I yearned for his touch so gentle,
Not-accepting that no other would resemble
These images just pass through my mind,
They are so distant yet can rewind -
I find my mother’s strength in mine,
Pushing through this battle line
Was when I realized -
Some can fall apart,
But at ten I couldn’t do more harm to the heart.
So I tried my best to be
Something beyond what was expected of me.
Again and again I think about Ten,
I think about what I had to learn then.
I think about sickness,
I think about fear,
I think about crying until I was lost in my tears.
I think about the warmth of a person’s embrace,
And then about their longing face -
I think about my mother,
Who lost her one and only other.
But at the end of all these thoughts I get hit with something beautiful,
It touches me so I become immovable;
My father’s smile and his happiness,
Which resonated through this darkness.
This is why you see
Happiness is so important to me.
Now I hate to think of final goodbyes,
When we had so much life go by
Our last words were: I love you, I will see you soon.
I now realize that soon has become forever,
But in my heart I will always remember.
A reading of TEN performed by Emma Rosenkranz