a guard in the blossomed darkness, as she rubbed off pink,
he turned from the gloom of what walled lay ahead, to peer
into her glow, watch her mouth the words, “no chances,”
between the wipe-away of lipstick, spit in their last
handkerchief, as if erasing the tracery of smile
could secure safe passage.
He wished it were so, and tried to count up luck
in corridors slipped through, but the garden’s indifferent growth
rooted him, despairing, into place, made him wonder,
as rose rubbed grey, whether they should not close
their eyes for this next leg, masking the whites
against thickening night, begging blind faith
to lift them above
stacked stone, flashed fire, blackest
boot-tip. Instead, he pressed only his own
lips closed, clasping
Here’s a very draftish poem that I wrote in response to Susan’s prompt on With Real Toads to write something that began with a last line of an earlier poem. My earlier poem “Pink” is a sestina, that ends with this poem’s first line.
It was an interesting, difficult, exercise. I confess that this poem, which had about a zillion very different (and possibly more sensible) iterations earlier today, was influenced by my discovery that it is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I don’t pretend that this really expresses much about the Holocaust, only that this set me thinking along slightly different tracks.
There is a beautiful and terribly sad pictorial essay in the N.Y. Times today about what happened to a couple, the wife Jewish, staying at an Italian hotel, after the Nazis came to visit. The story may be found here. (Again, the poem really has nothing much to do with this story, just caught in the atmosphere.)
I am also linking this to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.
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