Liza Kobrinsky

Mother Courage

We left behind
Lemon trees, barefoot children,
A people united by a common
Feeling of nausea
Thinking about 1944, 1945…
You put a rock on the tombstone,
But you don’t cry. Especially
If your tattooless arms
Are still strong.

The plane landed in snow.
I had split my lip
Running around the airport.
We held on to each other
As the cold blew us along.
Too many languages, I gargled.
On the playground we learned each other –
Endurance, respect for getting the rules right,
And all silently not understanding
When the teacher died of Hep B.
I wasn’t yet sure what the custom was
So I sang, slowly, a sad Hebrew song.

You never offered any explanations
But I felt you in your worry:
As I chipped my teeth getting the words out,
Skinning my knees on Canadian concrete
Stumbling through wilted trees.

My arms and legs grew longer
Mother Courage drags her cart
On two twisted ankles.


Liza Kobrinsky is a fourth year economics student who reads too much and always writes everything down. Born in Moscow, she now lives in Toronto. She likes traveling, politics, and theatre.