Everybody Knows

Helena Lipstadt was born in Berlin and lives in Los Angeles and Blue Hill, Maine. Lipstadt’s poems have been featured in Rattling Wall, Lilith, Bridges, Sinister Wisdom, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, Medium and Common Lives, Lesbian Lives. Her writing has also appeared in the following anthologies: The Challenge of Shalom, From Memory to Transformation, and Every Woman I’ve Ever Loved: Lesbian Writers on Their Mothers, Lipstadt is the author of two chapbooks, Leave Me Signs and If My Heart Were A Desert. Her prose-poem Do Widzenia won silver in the Travelers Tales’ Solas Awards. Lipstadt has also been a writer-in-residence at the WUJS Institute’s Arad Arts Program in Arad, Israel, and at The Borderland Foundation in Sejny, Poland.

Everybody Knows

Like a fisherman I cast
my eyes over the crowd
in the station.

Again I look for my
cousin who was never born.
All the doors of a dark

hallway will burst
open at the light in her eyes.
In our journey we climb

over many chairs. I taste
their brittle backs.
Through the window I see

a false baroness lean
into a green velvet chair,
dress her long Polish hair

with the silver-handled
brush we left behind.
No matter, our hips knock

against a new land.
Green as a robin’s
nest, the velvet chair

floats with us. It hovers
over my small house,
drops like a pebble to

the rug. Years gone, my
mother and father sit
above me, shoulders, knees.

They save my seat and tell
the story everybody
knows, of the dark,

the coal barge, the landing.

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