Your bones tremble
like the limbs of an old tree
blown by the wind.
I walk slowly down the stairs with you,
as if descending a carpeted mountain, saying,
“Take your time, grandpa, take your time.”

We grasp each others’ hands,
your curved fingers
clutching my shallow palms,
hold tightly, interlocking.
My tiny hands absorb your shaking;
my sapling body begins to quiver
with your disease.

We reach the last step,
walk down the hallway
to the kitchen. On the way
you tell me my hands
are still wet from washing them,
need to be dried completely,
I ask you why, but you don’t respond.

Water droplets on my hands like tears
transferred to your hands, trembling
as if to shake the sadness away,
like a tree after it rains,
drooping until the sun
dries its leaves.

Sliver of Light

I stand in their coffin-
cattle car in Holocaust museum.
A slit near the top
lets in light—
a jagged sliver
like broken glass
on the floor.

I stand here alone
as they suffocate—
bodies crushed by bodies,
sucking each others’ breath—
life consumed.

I stand in this time machine,
close my eyes and imagine
screeching wheels
drowning out cries
of vanishing souls.
Their bodies,
limp like dolls, discarded,
thrown in fire—
flesh rising up to sky.
I stand in the slice of light;
it touches my shoes.
Stepping out, I look back inside,
a small corner illuminated—
the rest dark, as if
still hiding their faces.

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