First edition | poetry

First Edition features new original works by Northern California Jewish writers. Appearing the first issue of each month, it includes a poem and an excerpt from a novel or short story.

The Last Holocaust Survivor in America

by adrienne wolfert

In the year two thousand and forty-five

to commemorate something

they weren’t sure which

or when

or if it was myth

or mattered, they searched out

the last Holocaust survivor

in America.

He lived on a mountain

in Colorado

where they found him

prone on a wicker chaise

covered with native blankets.

Western sunsets

spread across his lap,

his arm extended

blue skies over prairies,

his hair

was snow

on the crest

of a purple mountain

He was a painter.

“Could he tell them,”

they asked,

“The answer to

a hundred-year-old


Did it happen?”

The sunken rivers

of his eyes


the walls

where hung

the work of his survival.

Experts all

they studied

the canvasses,

oil acrylic,

howl on howl…

They shook their heads

denying clues,

negating meaning

no human dared



Adrienne Wolfert, 90, is a poet, essayist and novelist. She is a former columnist for the Connecticut Jewish Ledger and was twice awarded the Connecticut Commission on the Arts’ Artist’s Prize. Her recent work includes the novel “The Twelve O’Clock Bus” and the anthology “7/Day World, Quick Reads for Busy People” (2014), in which this poem appeared. She lives in San Francisco.