Through Open Doors


He didn’t just walk in.
You opened the door,
welcomed him as you would
an old friend.

He had promises to keep…
to  get rid of the roaches,
those Blacks, immigrants, gays, and Jews.
They weren’t Christian whites, like you.

Was I alone in seeing jackboots
again seizing peace on the streets,
screaming slurs and raising torches,
searing fear in the hearts of victims
as white-hot as the brands they bore
on their arms not that long ago?
Was I alone in knowing that pain, too?

He promised money to the poor,
health care for the sick, and safety
for our children.
And you believed him.

While you sewed your curtains,
baked your brownies,
polished your silver and
planted your pretty flowers,
he was spreading seeds of hate.

You pray at church on Sundays.
What do you pray for?
I pray at my grandmother’s grave,
spill tears for her family, her friends,
for all the Jews murdered
because of people
who opened the door for Nazis,
welcomed them like old friends.

We did not leave the door open
for this again. It is hard to close
the door with you on the other side.


Shelly Blankman and her husband are empty-nesters who live in Columbia, Maryland with
their 4 cat rescues. They have two sons: Richard, 32, of New York, and Joshua, 30, of San Antonio. Her first love has always been poetry, although her career has generally followed the path of public relations/ journalism. Shelly’s poetry has been published by Whispers, Silver Birch Press, Verse-Virtual, Praxis Magazine Online, Ekphrastic: writing and art on art and writing and Visual Verse.

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