Mother of Exiles,
To what secret land
Have you flown?
Only to leave behind
Your hollow former self,
As if you were an insect
That outgrew her shell.

We the people once
Filled your body with
The hopes and dreams
Of those, you cried out for:
“Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tost to me…”

Mother of Exiles,
Children yearn
To be free, only to be found
Cast upon foreign shores dead.
Aren’t you ashamed?

You forgot about The St. Louis.
The ship with the thousand
Jews, whom you turned away,
And later destroyed in the ovens of hell.
Don’t you remember,
Mother of Exiles?

Tell us your secret,
Mother of Exiles.
Tell us how you can speak out
Of both sides of your
Silent lips.

Kaplan, an Emmy Award winner, is retired from broadcasting at CBS television. His work in photography and short story writing has been published in the Tifferet Journal. His poems have been published in the Paulinskill Poetry Project — Voices From Here 2, and in the Sidereal Times, a publication of the Amateur Astronomy Association of Princeton.

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