Tag Archives: Esther Altshul Helfgott poem

Esther Altshul Helfgott

Esther Altshul Helfgott
Photo Credit by Ann Teplick

Esther Altshul Helfgott is a nonfiction writer and poet with a Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington. She wrote her doctoral thesis on Holocaust poet, Irena Klepfisz. Esther’s work appears in the Journal of Poetry Therapy; Maggid: A Journal of Jewish Literature; Drash: Northwest MosaicAmerican Imago: Psychoanalysis and the Human Sciences; Raven Chronicles; Floating Bridge Review; Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease; Jack Straw Anthology; HistoryLink, and elsewhere. She is a longtime literary activist, a 2010 Jack Straw poet, and the founder of Seattle’s “It’s About Time Writers’ Reading Series,” now in its 23rd year. She is the author of the poetic docu-drama The Homeless One: A Poem in Many Voices, and her book, Dear Alzheimer’s: Why Did You Pick our Sheltered Lives to Visit – a caregiver’s diary & poems is forthcoming from Cave Moon Press in 2013. www.estherhelfgott.com.

 

Pantoum for Uncle Izzy

In 1945, Uncle Izzy came home from the war
He drove up to our apartment in an Oldsmobile
He wore a soldier’s cap and a uniform
Mother doted on him and made a big meal

He drove up to our apartment in an Oldsmobile
He was the most beautiful person I ever saw
Mother doted on him and made a big meal
He hid my presents – a doll, stuffed animal, and a ball

He was the most beautiful person I ever saw
That’s when we lived at 1931 East Baltimore
He hid my presents – a doll, stuffed animal, and a ball
I hid under the table, I was four.

That’s when we lived at 1931 East Baltimore
His brown eyes crinkled when he smiled
I hid under the table, I was four
He let me be shy, it took me awhile

His brown eyes crinkled when he smiled
He and Mother talked of work and war crimes
He let me be shy, it took me awhile
Soon I came out from my hiding behinds

I sat on his lap and hugged round his neck
He wore a soldier’s cap and a uniform
The kitchen was quiet, their eyes were all wet
In 1945, Uncle Izzy came home from the war

The kitchen was quiet, their eyes were all wet.
He carried me to bed, my arms round his neck.