Who Am I?

By Vera Ripp Hirschhorn
Boca Raton Branch, Florida


I am the toddler jumping up and down, waving my arms and shouting Da! Da! in my playpen upon seeing my dad, on leave from Tito’s army.

I am the little two-year-old leaving her birthplace in a nearly capsized Radnik, en route to the Promised Land.

I am the child who went forth!

I am the three-year-old dressed in white, walking in rhythm to someone’s accordion with other children in front of bombed-out buildings during a holiday.

I am the puffy faced little refugee staring into a camera in the Promised Land and leaving the warring children of Abraham.

I am the child who went forth!

I am the six-year-old en route to the Land of the Free on KLM Airlines, clutching a little doll and arriving as a sponsored immigrant along with her younger red-headed brother and parents.

I am the child who was introduced to new family and taught English by cousins and Mrs. Adler.

I am the child who went forth!

I am the child who became a citizen with my parents and chose to become one on my own at sixteen, with tears in my eyes each time I sang “O say can you see….”

I am the child who went forth as the first family member to enroll in college and study in Spain where my soul connected to those of my ancestors,
Where I tasted tapas,
Sang cante hondos and danced to the rhythm of the sevilllanas, rhumba tango and other flamenco variations.

This was the Land where my soul thrived, played and loved.

The fearful ego-driven child transcended, ascended and expanded into another realm.

Two years after returning home,
The child went forth into the arms of her true love and became a bride, and soon after a caretaker, a nurturer who held two shining, sparkling pure gems in her own arms.

The child, in her forties, went forth even in her darkest times,
and she found light through her poems, drawings, watercolors and guitar.

The child today is practicing to let go and return to the land of her Soul, loving, laughing and living.

I am that child!



  1. I am beyond grateful to everyone whose posts here and in private emails and phone calls took the time to respond to my poem. Your comments mean the world to me. Thank you.

  2. marlene klotz says:

    A wonderful poem that is clearly autobiographical…and so beautifully
    expressed. What I like so much – a story told from beginning to end
    with clarity and sensitivity.

  3. Dayle Herstik says:

    Really warm, poignant, wonderful autobiography in Flash genre. So much is between the lines.
    You are my sister Pen Woman and special friend.

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