Academic journal article The Mailer Review

THE GOLDEN GOWN --after Yehudit Arnon

Academic journal article The Mailer Review

THE GOLDEN GOWN --after Yehudit Arnon

Article excerpt

Birkenau. The new woman pushed up beside me on the stone slab cries out in Hungarian in her sleep. I press my hand over her lips. Morning. Before the guard arrives, I show them how to unknot their bodies, stretch. Facing me, women in pajamas, striped birch trees.

Christmas Eve. They come for me. A large room, candles fluttering, the smell of beer and pine. Soldiers clap their big hands, they are shouting, "Dance for us." I stiffen, look down at my mismatched socks. "Nein." A soldier drags me outside to the yard. I grip the icy fence. Snow falls like a curtain. Snow covering my bare feet.

In the forest, I shiver in the soldier's coat and boots, stolen from the camp. Bent over, inch from tree to tree in the moonless dark. I look up at a single star, afraid to ask God for anything more.

On deck of the ship to Palestine, I gather the parentless children. …

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