520 Years after their Expulsion, Spain Welcomes Back Sephardic Jews--
Philadelphia Inquirer Headline
Should I return to Seville,
where my people prayed, where
dust rustled on winding lanes?
Where keys hung from necks – shekem –
where keys opened doors, intoned belonging?
Where Jacob, my kin, an Anousim,
concealed menorahs in commodes,
Shabbat candles in cradles?
Where they cast him out in Christ’s name,
changed the locks?
Go back, Jacob whispers. Take my key,
the one imbued with centuries of longing,
the one embossed with Star of David filigree,
the one you found stowed away
with old car keys, lost lockets, birthrights.
I grasp his key,
worry it back to the drawer,
barely disturb the dust.
Toda. Shalom. Toda.
Betsey Cullen studies and teaches poetry at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware. Her poems have appeared in the Broadkill Review, Prize Poems (2017,18,19) of the Pennsylvania Poetry Society and anthologies published by Diane Lockward, Peter Murphy and A.J. Huffman. Her collection, Our Place in Line,won Tiger’s Eye Press’ 2015 Chapbook Competition. Betsey earned degrees from the University of Rochester and Cornell. She and her husband Neil live in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org