I Would Have Called you Oma by Joanne Jagoda

I Would Have Called you Oma
by Joanne Jagoda

I would have called you “Oma”
You would have called me “Little Doll”
I would have cuddled in your lap
You would have told me your stories
I would have gone to you when I was hurt
You would have kissed away my tears.

I would have looked like you
You would have laughed when people said that
I would have had your high cheekbones
You would have fussed with my straight hair
I would have slept on your shoulder
You would have sung to me about geese and rabbits

I would have made cut -out cookies with you
You would have taught me your recipes
I would have run to you with my report cards
You would have been in the first row for my graduations
I would have helped you when you were sick
You would have sat with me when I had the chicken pox

I would have told you my secrets
You would have kept them forever
I would have brought around my sweetheart
You would have welcomed him into your arms
I would have stood under the marriage canopy
You would have wept tears of joy

But they shipped you on the train to Auschwitz
And you walked to the showers of gas
Your precious light extinguished forever
And when I hold my own sweet grandchild
I think about you...
I would have called you “Oma”

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After retiring, one inspiring writing workshop launched Joanne Jagoda of Oakland, California on an unexpected writing trajectory. Her short stories, poetry and creative nonfiction appear on-line and in numerous print anthologies including The Awakenings Review, Dreamers Magazine, Passager, A Poet’s Siddur, Persimmon Tree, Better After 50, The Write Launch, Heat the Grease We’re Frying up Some Poetry, Project Healthy Love (Riza Press) and Still You, Poems of Illness and Healing. She received a Pushcart Prize nomination and has won a number of contests. In 2022, Joanne received first place in the Gemini Open Poetry competition. Writing helped her get through challenging times like her breast cancer diagnosis. Her first book of poetry My Runaway Hourglass, Seventy Poems Celebrating Seventy Years was conceived during the pandemic, (Poetica Publications, 2020). Joanne also had the opportunity to work with several well-known poets during the pandemic. She enjoys taking Bay Area and national writing workshops, and spoiling her seven grandchildren who call her Savta.

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