Without Reparations

“In 2015, the Spanish Parliament [. . .] enacted a law inviting the Sephardim—Jews who trace their roots to Spain—to return.”
            —from “Spain’s Attempt to Atone for a 500-Year-Old Sin”
The Atlantic, Sept. 21, 2019

Land slit like a throat, life poured out
like gold coins on cobblestone. Confessions
pulled from tongues like toenails off toes.
Piled with scorched scrolls: our paschal pyre,

confessions extracted like gold, coins swallowed
then picked from the coals. Nothing sacred
but pyres piled, a pathetic penance, my hands
washed with my blood, an act of faith?

Is nothing sacred but my ashes, picture
of oblivion, my name oblivion? My faith forgets
its name, washed with blood, my act
of courage or escape. Am I nothing? What is nothing?

Oblivion forgets my name, my faith the thing
they cannot take, the gold I protect with my life.
What is courage or escape? It is nothing I can lose
or forsake, they took everything that tied me to this place.

They cannot take my faith, I protect it like gold
pulled from tongues like toenails off toes,
there’s nothing left to tie me to this place.
Land slit like a throat, gold poured out.

Copyright © 2023 by Lupita Eyde-Tucker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 16, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.