Poetry

My Mother’s First Winter in Germany

My mother never thought she’d survive the slave labor camps. She had no coat, no hat, no gloves, just what she was wearing when the Germans came to her house and killed my grandma and took my mom to the camps.

A German guard saved her life there. He saw her struggling to dig beats in the frozen earth with her hands, and he asked her if she could milk a cow.

She said, “Yes,” and he took her to the barn where the cows were kept and raped her there.

Later the cows kept her from freezing and gave her milk to drink.

 

A Story My Mother Heard in the Slave Labor Camp

They took me from my children, three little ones.

They said the children would be useless in the camps in Germany. They were too young to do anything but cry for food.

I begged the soldiers to let me take them with me. I said I’d care for them and do the work both. I even dropped to my knees and wept, clung to their boots, but they said no.

I asked them who would feed them, and they said surely a neighbor would.

I couldn’t stop weeping, and they said if I didn’t, they would shoot the children.

So I left them and Debno.

 

PROVISIONS                         With a black handled knife    she removed the core-
ovaries and eggs being harder to chew,
and everyone knows that if we didn’t have to chew so much
there would be more room for our brains.

The girl downs the majority of the apple slices before hesitating,
before feeding the rest to the garabage disposal, pondering how anorexia
could contribute to evolution.

NIETZCHE ONCE SAID
Nietzche once said that there are few of us brave enough       to face what we really know.

I took census of my bravery then, on my fingers listing    the things certain to me:

ONE: I know that I don’t really know anything.

TWO: Sometimes the fact that we love shouldn’t be relevant to how we proceed.

THREE: The above statement may not be true.

FOUR: Niezche went mad.

 

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