The letters ‘A.L.L.1’ branded in black
Are burned into the leather and there’s a Prague address
A faded hotel sticker on the back.
Which shows the Tyrol prayer shawl draped with snow
Blue skies, pine trees, a lake
Were you alone? Was this a family outing?
Did you read or did you swim on this life-affirming break?
Did you climb or simply walk below the mountain?
The case gapes open wide its emptiness a soundless cry
We pause to gaze at it, at you, through time
Where now the socks and toothbrush
The shirts and underwear, the family snaps, the works of Heinrich Heine.
In winter nineteen forty-four the German order came
Take what you think you’ll need, you’re moving East
And don’t make any fuss just leave everything to us
Twenty kilos or just one suitcase each.
And now it’s here on show its palm-warmed handle cold
The leather cracked its metal clasps corroded
As the steam train pulled away from Theresienstadt that day
Did it rain or did you weep as it was loaded?
Reference your trip, ‘A.L.L.1’
cattle trucks as per specification.
The livestock rule allows thirty pigs or seven cows
One hundred and twenty Jews for transportation
The case of Otto Schwarzkopf has made its way without him
To Jerusalem in anger, guilt and sorrow
Pray humanity can hear what it cannot see through tears
The cry of yesterday before tomorrow, before tomorrow.
Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2017/1/11 - 22:34
Bernart Bartleby - 2017/1/11 - 22:45
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