April 17, 2010
Oh Sylvia,
Did you really think you were fated to endure hell in life,
Rather than in death?
Did you look into that cavern,
Cloaked in smoke from imperceptible flames,
Bathed in the red glow from behind the racks,
Smelling the cloying scent of gas
And see yourself?
Did the darkness of that gaping mouth reflect your black eye
Like a mirror?
Did you think yourself a little Jewess then,
Fighting noisy soldiers in your head,
Rebelling against their conquest in a war of attrition?
Oh, they won eventually,
Wrapping their fire arms around your urgent heart,
They clamped the bell jar stiffly over your crown
And let you watch your breath fog the glass, then your vision.
When you felt the noose slip round your neck like a fallen halo,
Did you regret letting it drop?
When you filled your lungs with sleep,
The first sleep you've had in days,
Did you find, at last, peace in life?
Did you believe in your resurrection,
Not as a flaming phoenix, but as a whisper,
Fragile as bone and the same color.
Though your body is laid to rest, you speak back,
Lady, from the pit of my being,
Your words rising from a shallow grave to breathe
Goosebumps on my skin, but never in answer.

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