Survivors, Shapes, and Stories
By: Merle Cohen, Class of 2015
On Wednesday evenings we sit in circles.
On Wednesday evenings we talk in squares.
On Wednesday evenings we listen to triangles of family. Of the would be mother, father, daughter. Of the once upon a yesteryear silhouette of a family shuffling among the silhouettes of identical families. Because on Wednesday evenings we learn that a Jew is a Jew is a Jew and when push comes to shove the second your hair is shaved from your head your shape becomes the shape of a thousand others packed into the same sardine can.
On Wednesday evenings we learn of small box windows shoved into corners of big box cars.
On Wednesday evenings we follow the arrows of a thousand stalks of hay that hid your circle eyes from the black shadow boots.
On Wednesday evenings we pin stars to our coats and trace the numbers curved across soft skin.
When I think of the shapes of Witness Theater I envision Simon’s Tzahal cap and Edith’s pink sneakers. I see Sofiya’s sprightly manner and Judith’s winter hat. I smell the coffee I make for Harry during dinner and feel the soft skin of Lola’s hand as I slip mine into hers. Come Wednesday evening I imagine the glint of Ruth’s rings, taste Blanka’s baking and embrace Golda’s soft musical notes. By now the jigsaw of our shapes fits ever so nicely, our fingers intertwining ever so precisely that it’s no wonder to me how the shapes of Witness Theater have become ever so important.