A Poet's Life

Mona Bethke

Home / 365 Days of Transformation / February 3, 2017 – Preserving Mother’s Memories

February 3, 2017 – Preserving Mother’s Memories

NotebookThis is a part of a book length poem I’m working on:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I close my eyes
as mother paints
a swastika with words,
empty homes with Juden
painted on doors,
echoes the soon to be dead.

Blood-borne cobblestone
alleys, devoid of clicking
heels, or children’s laughter
echoing from stone walls,
marks the silenced ghetto
amplified only by wails

from crowded halls
as flashes of pressed
uniforms and spit-shined
boots, drag flailing bodies
thumping down staircases,
to be branded with stars

and bullets, camps
of smoldering bones,
Zyklon B stripping breath,
burning away identity,
this is a cleansing,
die verdamte Juden müssen sterben.

A nation mourns its dead,
its history,
its shame, silence
fed the beast, the dead
could not speak through hollow
cheeks, eyes, chests,

where faint flutter of heartbeat
showed through thin, pale skin
like ancient papyrus
of family lines, engraved
for memory before the end,
their only comfort among

hundreds of bodies in cold
earth pits. Never at peace.
Their truth wanders across
our tongues, coats our teeth
and falls onto empty pages
that can carry no excuses.

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