Learning To Let Go

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Janet R. Kirchheimer


The Angel of Death has come four times for my father. 
Once in Dachau, the other times in the hospital. 

But the Angel has not found him. Perhaps, my father is good at hiding. 
A friend tells me that this is the time of my life 

that family will start to die, 
tells me to get ready. 

The training wheels are off, I am ten. My father lets go 
of the back of my bike, and I begin to pedal on my own. 

“Keep looking straight ahead, don’t look down, or you’ll fall. 
When you stop and turn around, you’ll see how far you’ve gone on your own.” 

Janet R. Kirchheimer is the author of How to Spot One of Us, (Clal, 2007) and Seduction: Out of Eden, co-authored with Jaclyn Piudik (Kelsay, 2022). She is producing AFTER: Bringing the Dead Back to Life, a documentary in which poets and actors present poems about the Shoah and examine the responsibility of art to respond to genocide. Janet is an award-winning poet, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poems and essays appear in numerous print and online journals, and anthologies. Find out more about her and her work at: