Survivor: One Who Survives

Share

The only difference between a madman
and myself 
is that I am not mad.

Salvador Dali

Four or five times a day, steamy baths fog away
her past until the skin puckers, then heavy towels
unburden her. She frees her hair, shakes it until

it caresses her back and thighs: she has not cut
it since liberation, will not allow scissors
in the house. Her husband doesn’t complain any

longer. Early each morning, she stretches clean starched
sheets tautly over the sturdy mattress, then crawls
between them when trains clank the tracks half a mile from

the house. She still insists on accompanying
the children to school, only lately has she
allowed them to return on their own. They keep their

backpacks in their lockers, remind each other to
discard their apple cores before arriving home
so she can’t retrieve them and hide them under her

pillow. She wears long sleeves even in summer. The
children invent elaborate stories about the
blue-black numbers scratched on her left forearm. She still

flinches at the hint of a uniform, and still
imagines an extra point on the gold star on
the village Christmas tree, stares until her husband

liberates her. The children don’t bring any of
their friends home. She goes to bed early each night, and
her husband guards her anxious dozing, smoothing hair

from her face. In the darkness, those voices shout zu
Fünf
while a train without brakes plunges into deep
tunnels winding ever deeper into the earth.

amazon-logo_black copy

images

9c4eAx5Ki

Read excerpts from 
Where Lightning Strikes:
Poems on The Holocaust

The Dead Bodies that Line the Streets

The Dead Bodies that Line the Streets

The Dead Bodies that Line the Streets chatter and snipe at me constantly, as if I were responsible for their being there. But I ignore ...
Continue reading
Lager-Lieder (Camp Songs)

Lager-Lieder (Camp Songs)

Not last night but the night before, twenty- four Gestapo came knocking at the door. As we ran out, they ran in, and this is ...
Continue reading
On the Other Hand,

On the Other Hand,

On the Other Hand, death: not everyone’s favorite topic of conversation, I know, but some things they have to be talked about, they can’t be ...
Continue reading
Survivor: One Who Survives

Survivor: One Who Survives

The only difference between a madman and myself is that I am not mad. Salvador Dali Four or five times a day, steamy baths fog away her ...
Continue reading
The Day the Snakes Came

The Day the Snakes Came

We thought, at first, that we were imagining them: that sliver of disturbed dust by the sidewalk, that hint of damp on the kitchen floor ...
Continue reading
Letter to Sylvia

Letter to Sylvia

I praised the dead, which are already dead, more than the living, who are yet alive. Ecclesiastes 4:2 For years, whenever I thought of visiting you, a certain ...
Continue reading

Read Where Lightning Strikes: Poems on The Holocaust
free any time Kindle Unlimited

Not a Kindle Unlimited member?
Start reading with a 30-day free trial.*

Don’t have a Kindle? Read Kindle ebooks
on any device with the free Kindle app
for iOS, Android, PC, & Mac


Where Lightning Strikes: Poems on the Holocaust

© 1980-1986, 2000-2007, 2013 by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman.
May not be reprinted or excerpted without written permission.
Please do not support piracy of Intellectual Property

* This is an affiliate link: if you join KU,
I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.*

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.