by Sonya Taaffe
Sometimes my grandfather looks like Steve Rogers, a stick-skinny kid from Brooklyn whose body barred him from the war his heart was fretting to fight. No refugee scientist gifted him with 1-A eyesight and fists stronger than a flyweight's— blind as Kipling's Jack without his glasses, he finished his dissertation inside the hot steel hum of the mill room, did not break his fingers in the rollers while names burned in Europe only an Ellis Island spelling from his own. My grandmother without an SOE accent watched children in Erikson's nursery, never chased spies through docklands or winter forests, broke codes, riveted B-17s, or waited for a man who only came back long after his world had disappeared. I cannot find their story in splash pages or Hollywood's memory, the generation of vintage color smiling into victory as timelessly heroic as capes, masks, shields. My mother with her Mediterranean darkness was no one's war work, all-American.
December 15th, 2016