Because of the ten plagues, the Nile River ran red with blood.

A Poem by Jill Bialosky

August 7, 2020  By Jill Bialosky

Because of the ten plagues, the Nile River ran red with blood, livestock
diseased, locusts, boils, hailstorms, three days of darkness,

every firstborn threatened by an avenging angel—you had to mark
the door with blood of a sacrificed lamb so that God would pass over it.

Because to identify those when deported to the camps in Nazi-occupied
Eastern Europe they were required to sew a yellow Jewish Star

on their jacket. Later, in the camps, a white armband
with a blue Jewish Star bound on their left arm. Babies in prams, too

had to wear them, infants tossed in the air and used as targets
for machine guns. Oh, holy war. Because someone painted a Swastika

on the door of a dorm room where three Jewish students reside,
Jews will not replace us, because in the complex, only the apartments

of minorities had signs marking their doors. Because on a college
campus, a Swastika was carved into the purity of white fallen snow.*


Excerpt from Asylum c. 2020 by Jill Bialosky, by permission of Alfred A Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC New York. 

Jill Bialosky
Jill Bialosky
Jill Bialosky is the author of six acclaimed collections of poetry, three critically acclaimed novels, and two memoirs, including History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life, a New York Times bestseller. Her poems and essays have appeared in The Best American Poetry; The New Yorker; The Atlantic; Harper’s Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; The Kenyon Review; Harvard Review; and The Paris Review, among other publications. She is executive editor and vice president at W. W. Norton & Company. Her work has been a finalist for the James Laughlin Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, and the Books for a Better Life Awards. In 2014, she was honored by the Poetry Society of America for her distinguished contribution to poetry. She lives in New York City.

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