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your grotesque calligraphy -- poetry by Hannah Ascher

i saw your words.

red paint pulsating with your one-track message

bet you wielded that brush with


i’m imagining you now, how you plunged the paintbrush


into a bucket of the cheap hue

the scent of acrylic making the colors go soft around you.

did they bleed into each other?

and i watch you drag the letters down

making your “j” twisted and deformed

“Jews are not wanted here.”

you knew eventually a Jewish girl would find herself confronted

by your grotesque calligraphy…

her world would go dark

and the quick-brush cadence of her musical mind would


she would recall the stench of gas

the slap-thrash commands of a man in uniform

because hate likes to echo through




and the colors around her would go soft

and bleed into each other.


Hannah Ascher is a high school junior at Brentwood School in Los Angeles, California. When she's being serious, she plans fundraisers to provide global disaster relief to low-income communities or prevent global warming. Otherwise, she tinkers with banana "nice" cream recipes, writes indie-folk songs, or takes a class at her dance studio.

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