Crying For Shame

By Mira Wilder

8000 miles and 22 hours
flown East of Los Angeles
Europe, and Greece...
Mother was non stop talking
to strangers...
While Girl stared out the window
Until they arrived, in Tel Aviv.

Mother's older Sister
lived in Haifa...
certain she would help
their little dilemma.
the only survivors
of their Polish family
they spent 4 years in
Concentration camp together.

Mother married,
moved to America
Sister married
To get faraway from Mother.

From Doctor to Doctor
they searched the Holy Land
but not one, would consider
Mothers demand...
"Madame, Zis is your only Daughter!
perrrhaps anozherrr way?"
She's too far along..."
"let her keep the little babe
put it up for adoption"
"she's old enough"
"give her a chance "
"A chance... A chance?
Mother'd condescend
why Should she
have a chance in life
I never had any..."

Mother's green eyed
Beauty glowered and scowled.
gripping Girls hand,
she detachedley vowed;
We'll find somebody,
I have money
To get that bastard out."
The last Doctor showed them the door
"It's ethics for me,
 not the money, Madame,
"But I do know someone ,
very skilled with his hands
His name is Dr.Leo Fuchs
And he is German."

For the first time in quite a while
Girl saw Mother smile ....

In the plain white office
Of a Private hospital,
meant for the Rich
and Government officials,
Doctor Fuchs formulated a plan.
so taken by Girls beauty
It had nothing to do with the exam.
adjusted his hardening,
Marveled  velvety skin
Blonde hair  
golden eyes
He cradled breasts
fingered goods.
Hands roaming her soft outline
He wanted to see if
she got wet and stirred...
Girl began to shake
eyes tight shut
Imagining another place
and a baby she'd be holding,   
far from foreign fingers
Penetrate probing...
Doctor suddenly realized
Girls delicate and naive.
not confident or tough
Like Israeli girls her age.

Dr.Fuchs Looked up from the sheet
With Mother, standing right behind him

"Vee must vait forrr vun munts morr!
zen ze belly will be rripe"
Dr. Fuchs wiped his sweaty brow
Stinging drops of perspiration
Dripped onto girls thighs
Mother warned her not to cry.
He scrutinized Mother
with deep concern."
and turned away to ask...
Is this what you want Girl?
Is your Mommy right?
No!! No!!! Please!!! Girl answered "Its not a fault
I want my Baby
problems and all
Mother snapped
never mind what she wants
lets just get this done!

He pondered nodded
Agreed consent
"brink her back
In a munt or zo,
I've alvays vanted
To trry zis experiment."
"but I vorn you
It's not safe
she may never be ze same "
never have other children ever again.

a look of worry
crossed his bald shiny head
"I'm tellink you, Madame"....
"therrrr maybe not vun...
But two souls dead!".
"Sign zis paper ...
300 bucks"
"I'm not rresponsibul"
do you hear vaat I said?"
"perhaps in ze meanwhile",
he looked at them both,
"You two should
Get some counseling?"

Mother didn't read it
Just signed Girl away...
another month living
in High Holy Heat...
she thought about what she would wear...

As Girl sweltered beneath obedient layers,
Mother and Aunt made her wear tights
and girdles, so no one would know
what girl was carrying
In 110 degree heat
They walked her like a dog
Through the ancient city...
Port of Mediterranean Petroleum Industry,
Holy land vendors, mosques and bells,
Aromas that lingered, so much going on.
Everyone in a hurry, hot and mad
ill mannered tempers
Cars racing each other
drove 100 MPH per hour
On every road
Soldiers carried back packs and oozies
The tiny country
of war torn hostility
Arabs and Orthodox
mingled and bartered.
Everywhere the sound of voices shouting,
and shoving and pushing forward...
Saying y'allla  Y'alla hallo hallo hallo
no sign of tension between
Jew and Arab

Through the hills of Carmel
Mother and Aunt
Usually eating.
Ice creme, donuts or bread
Arm in arm
howl and giggle,
Girl walked ahead
through the hills of Carmel
She caught a glimpse
of Aunt rolling her eyes
A sign, she knew
Was wrong, but she couldn't refuse her request....

Girls ally,
growing belly
little baby
she'd imagine
Who would you be?
but I'll never know you
I call you son
But Mother
calls you Shame...
a different time
or I had a husband...
or  Mother wasnt around
I'd keep you and nurture you and treat you with respect
like Mother never did

the Uncle barely spoke English
accused and tormented
behind closed doors
saw her as an easy target
for men to use and toy
she had never experienced war.
it was the little things he wanted
the world owed him...
so he stole...

Mother oblivious to all
flaunting American ways
bragging and Throwing money
Pretending it was a grand vacation
Then chastise Girl everyday...
Do you know how much this is costing?
 I did this For you!
Girl would fight back
and ask why why why
its my body
please Mom
can't I keep my baby?
Mothers green eyed venom began it's tirade...

What are you going to do with a baby?
You can't take care of yourself...
If you gave a baby away for adoption
You'd search for him in crowds for all creation
in the eyes of every face you'd ever meet ...
are you following me?
Do you want someone else to raise your child...
You'll never get over this! are you following me?
Everyone will call you a whore,
and I'll be the whores mother...are you following me?
Is that what you want...?
youve done enough
You want me to always suffer?
I already have a bad back because of you
stress it's all stress
Do you know what you're putting me through?
I know what's good for you
Your life will be better
 shut up and
do what I tell you too!
come on go on your gonna doit doit doit.
 are you following me?

Girl began to itch,
a persistent sensation
Flared between her legs
A combination
Unrequited love and humiliation
Itch and burn
Aunt said Oy, try this ointment
Itching  prurient desire
In humid heat of night
She rubbed away at old denials
Churned into
One shameful irritation
For three long hot weeks it lasted
Here...mother Said... Use witch hazel
At night she would take a cold wash cloth
And sleep with it wet between her legs
Momentary relief
Until it turned warm
And itched and burned all over again
She would rub and rub and itch and scratch
Uncle said Oy... Here... Try this menthol patch
It works for my back...
 Nu?'s My thanks?
But nothing would relieve the torturing angst
It felt like shingles, poison oak and chicken pox
Labial petals swollen, skin rubbed raw
It looked like fried bacon burned in her craw
Objectified defeated wholly smothered,
Mother the show off constantly hovered
Argued everything when it didnt make sense
acted disappointed or confused, when caught her in the act...
Read and stole Girls journals and outgoing letters
Girl was a prisoner trapped and sweating
It was just too much! Girl felt out of control
and where was she going?
But there was no where on Earth
she was trapped with Mother
in the Middle East.

At night Girl would sneak a cigarette
While others had gone to bed
It became the only way for her to relax,
inhaling a Turkish blend...
Dreaming  love
rescuing her and a wedding,
as white foam ran down her legs,
a yeast infection so inflamed
3 doctors tried and couldn't cure it.
One Doctor said it looks like steak
A case he'd never seen
He warned the Girl
You must not scratch
It looks like athletes feet
here use this creme...

Finally it came
October Harvest
They entered the private hospital
Dr. Fuchs again warned Mother...
"I vaunt you to be sure Madame,
I'm not liable
She might die...
Be barren
Become infertile".... "Do you hear
Vat I am saying lady?..."
"Zis could be murder!"
"I'm varnink you
I von't be rresponsibul"
For vhat heppens to your dotter
Do you understant?
Mother   immediately answered
I do doctor, I do...
goot here ve go....sign here
Mother smile signed

 OK Girl,
Lay down...
He placed a white screen up over her belly
So she couldn't see
A familiar feeling of his touch
More fatherly now
It began in slow motion...

She took a breath
Just vun little pinch

She took a breath
He stuck the needle in

She took a breath
Filled with a salt

She took a breath
infusion of herbs

She took a breath

Piercing her uterus
6 times in a line
The baby she was carrying
would be here soon
She took a breath

Maybe it would live
she was
6 and half months pregnant...

Mother vacantly smiled
Batted her eyes
pretentious pity
to innocently appease

The Doctor to girl
It shouldn't hurt too much
ill give you something for ze pain
sveet girl
Ve take care of you,
Ve are just vaking ze baby from ze vomb
its nothing
a fetus
zat's vat zey say in ze books.

Now ve must vait!

Girl lay in a wordless crumble
A gnawing dread
Roil and rumble
The baby moved
woken from slumber
to claw its way free.
girl plead hysterical
hormones  raging
the baby kicked hard inside of her
I'm sorry she cried
A wave of nausea

 Mother firm
With pretentious worry
As a Nurse herself,
she was curious,
what would happen?...
She lied
they won't let me stay here with you
You'll be alright
It's nothing...
A little procedure...

girl cried But they dont speak English!

Mother left the room
and said to Sister, It's nothing
They're inducing labor
I'm hungry
Lets have dinner
She'll be here a while
They'll let us know when it's over
It's nothing
Oy vey C'mon... Lets go

On the way out the door
Mother called out
I've lost everyone anyhow...
What's one more life?
Better this...
Than our relatives know,
You had sex with a Christian guy!

In the private room
Girl all alone
A magazine by her bed
A small ache glowered her lower back.
The nurse came in
gave her an enema,
and said "Try to take a nap."
period cramps Girl thought...
Not so bad...
and read the magazine
Cover to cover
It was the only one they had.
the hours dragged on
Discomfort turned to worse
Intrusive stabs
hard to endure
Girl thought about the boy back home
And the only time she had sex
and Now
owwwwwwwww ow ow owwwwwww
a shooting pain
Raged a hurricane
Weeping sobs
Racked nervous system
A Winnowing from womb
ow ow ow ow owwww owwwww owwwwwweeee ohhhh oohhh
She struggled with the sheets
pillow to face
bedding soaked through
crying sweat,
in delirium
Please Please Give me
something for pain...
The nurse entered
Shah Girl! No is no goot
nothing we can do
To alleviate
it vill slow z'process down
You must
Stop screaming
disturbing ze ozher rooms
I'll get you anozherrr gown...

Whispering by the door...
did You see her mother
Azay Kalba
They nodded in agreement
What a bitch!

A day and a night
20 hours went by
alone in the room
She squirmed and rocked
As the sun came up
She hadn't slept
A thunderous pain
with every breath
Involuntary movements
Came and went
squeezing her organs
Torturing her soul...
30 hours later
Knives and razors inside visceral walls
Scraping veins of sensitive nerves.
the unmerciful seat
of physical distress .
She rode the waves
Overflowing guilt...
Crying out for Shame
It's my fault, my fault...
As the fetus involuntarily pulled away
uterus and womb
Clinging to her insides,
her flesh and blood
Not wanting to be born
ohhh aaaaaaahhhhhhhh
screams escalated
rang through  hospital walls
finally hour 35 a nurse came in  
examined her again
She shook her head
No sorry girl no no not yet
Pain like a knife twisting her gut
prolonged the magnitude torturous agony...

Fuck You All! She vehemently railed
All of you can go to Hell!
More whispering out side the door,
She held her belly and bawled
Goodbye little one
I know you're strong
I'll know you In another life ...

The Nurse
Couldn't do anything
for Girl who wanted to live
and Baby who
didnt want to be born

hour 40,
The doctor came in,
smelling of urgent doom
He stuck fingers inside Girls swollen vagina
and shouted
shnell machen
Prepare ze room...
Girl lay still
wheeled into delivery
demeanor changed
doctor on a mission
no eye contact
He Assumed a position
Again the white screen across her belly
The Doctor probed and started yelling
Get me Hot Vater
"spread your legs!
He demanded...
his left hand harshly pried them open
right hand plunged wrist deep in vagina...
Deep inside her aching torment...
They dimmed the lights
It was now or never
He maneuvered and felt for a slippery blob
he pulled and pulled with all his might
ahhhhh  ahhhhhhhhhhh she let out a scream
floating above her body
Caught between life
 and the light in the tunnel
He pulled again
And twisted hard
Gott in Himmel ! C'mon out!
He pulled once more
Then felt the rip...
Shards and bits of baby flesh...
Tore from  tender womb
He roughly yanked a slimy mass
Girl Screamed at the top of her lungs
He gaped at the sight
his mouth wide open
Gripping the tiny body
in his hand
The nurse stood by to wrap it up
came a flood
broken placenta blood,
burst in all directions
Dousing the face and shirt of Doctor Fuchs!
A towel! He yelled a towel!
The room was silent
for a next command...
tremendous relief
his legs were shaking
He held to the bed
Mine Gott ze danken
ze is ge laibt!
she is alive!!!
Girl never saw the needle coming
she passed out
Finally at peace.

In the distance
when she awoke
She heard a newborn cry
a momentary thought
Is My baby alive?
2 months early
Could it be?
A Morning Nurse cheerfully
With a thermometer and a pad
how do you feel today...
But before she could take Girls temperature

Nurse, please
what was it ?
a boy or a girl?
Was it alive ? Did it live?
my baby ? Did you see?
Was it dead at birth
strangled it, held its nose?
Where's the baby's body?
Thrown in garbage?
Used for science?
Did you bury it? How did it die?
Shot with drugs?
How much did it weigh
A boy a girl?
Dead alive?
She had to know....
Where is my child???
The Nurse
about to talk When,

Never Mind!
Mother appeared
Never Mind she said
her mission complete
except for one
Just be quiet
do as your told...
Mother perky perfectly ironed
amazed girl survived!
it Hurt? too bad
Take these pills,
It'll help the milk dry
It's your fault
aren't you glad I fixed the problem?
Get up Girl
get dressed...

Girl  in shock
Can't I have a day to rest?

Girl said to the Nurse
in German
Shvester epis tsu trinken?
Mother laughed at her broken German
As Nurse brought Girl water to drink

No sympathy
Just another day
While Girl thought about
going home
Mother had other plans
You're staying in Israel
For another year
To live and work on a kibbutz
I signed the papers just today
It'll will be good for you
 to live amongst other Jews
Your not coming home, you have no choice...
No choice You hear!!!!?
For at least a year,
Maybe more!
No choice
Mother packed her voice
No choice
Losing the best years she would ever have.

Mother said
Another girl would be dead by now...
But not you.

Mother threw a hundred dollar bill
Don't spend it in one place
Maybe you'll change,
however I don't see that as a possibility,
You? Not you!!!
She mocked ...

Never mentioned again
Uncle, Aunt and Mother
Drove Girl North, to a settlement
to pick apples
And work for her stay
Kibbutz Kfar Blum
It was cooler there they told her
In the Upper Galilee
In a valley on the Jordan River...
They dropped Girl off
with the weight of a secret
a Girl, alone in a foreign land.


This poem is about: 
My family


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