My shoes are grey with the ashes of the dead
it rains as we leave Auschwitz-Birkenau
A reflection of how I feel.
The hems of my trousers are splattered
with the mud of the bones, a sacrilege to wash.
The old folks always said don’t buy a Mercedes
now I feel why.
Every step is to walk not only over a grave, but
to walk the last meters that numberless thousands walked;
to view the last view they saw before they became ashes.
These roads are filled with the spirits of the unnumbered,
unnamed, uncounted, unknown.
Oh! Those Germans were meticulous record keepers
except in their haste to rid the world they neglected to count
more than we will ever know, rushed to the gas chamber
at the moment of arriving if they still lived.
The pollen falls like ashes as we stand
in the crematorium at Dachau
breaking my heart in ways for which I have no words.
Standing in these places of unimaginable horror
I can only touch the walls with the palm of my hand
and whisper “we remember” “we will not forget”.
I feel your spirits.
We can only remember, honor, teach;
somehow know what cannot be known.
My brain is full of history,
my eyes cannot hold any more horror.
With reverence and tears I spoke the Kaddish
in these holiest of places
and remembered…all the genocide, not just of these
but of our human history…ongoing still.