September 20, 2021

 

I Will Never Know Their Names

 
 
 

I Will Never Know Their Names

It doesn't seem like too much to think about you
once (or twice) in my life
for a few fleeting moments:
you would have been here
not gassed smoked roasted
by red-eyed wolves
that called themselves men,
for what reason?
Because you were Jews?
Because they needed someone to blame for their unhappiness
for their misery?
I think about all of you I would have known,
would have visited
(those of you I would have liked,
would have hated).
But now it doesn't matter:
won't know you,
or your children,
or your children's children (my cousins),
ever.
They won't ever be;
could this possibly be true?
Too terrible to comprehend
that men would fry babies
and mothers
and bearded grandfathers,
why?
Gas them
and pile their bodies,
their broken limbs, in mass graves
or better yet, they'd say,
let's burn them!
Let the stench of burning flesh
taint this land forever,
but save all useable parts --
the skin of the Jew for instance is tough,
would make good lampshades --
could they have really skinned us like cattle?
Yes, they could,
they did,
we must never forget.
But for all my cousins that were
and never were
now, for one single moment,
with a single tear
I cry -- I never knew their names.

Article © Mitchell Waldman. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-05-28


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