for my father


I am already in my forties when you mention

in passing, as though I must already know,

that as a child at Christmastime

you were chased around your neighborhood

by big blond boys who shouted

“Christ killer!” “Kike!”


I have spent my whole life knowing

you, and yet

you are a foreign land,

and few years left

for me to touch that soil.




Author’s Note: (First published in the print journal The Binnacle, Fall 2014).




Jennifer L. Freed lives in central Massachusetts. When not mothering, writing, or teaching writing workshops, she tutors ESL for refugees. Her poetry has appeared in various journals including Poetry East, The Worcester Review, Cloudbank, and in a chapbook These Hands Still Holding. More information is available at her website: jfreed.weebly.com.