In this prompt, we were asked to write about our ancestors:
As I lay brick after brick, I remember how I got here.
The languages going in and out of my ears, the smells of animal dung and freshly baked bread, the feeling of the ocean inside me, its waves crashing and falling in my stomach – never will I forget my journey to these shores. Herded like the animals of Noah’s ark, we boarded our ship, feeling each other’s breath on our shoulders as we slept, letting the wind whip against our cheeks to prevent the nausea from rising.
Mostly, my memories are not the sights and smells but the people – Seymour, with his black fedora and that voice, which commanded attention, running the gambling ring that got him shot; Ivan, a farmer escaping the pogroms, who stripped the weapon from the man who shot Seymour and tossed it in the sea; and of course, Rosemary, who at eight months pregnant, lost her child, her wails that fateful night etched in my memory.
But now this has passed. I am new to this country, and there are realities I will face. I must turn these bricks to gold.