Bones with ribs
poking into the ashes.
The flesh of a city,
tendons of millions of organizations-
neighborhood, Jewish, and political-
bustling markets, street gossip and scurrying people,
stripped away to leave the buildings
The decay was not sudden,
First came the Russians,
Then came the Germans,
is this infected?
Then came the ghettos,
And then for some, and the city,
Just keep functioning, no need to move out,
It’s too late, people are disappearing,
A job with the Gestapo.
The skeleton’s flesh has slid off
into camps and death pits,
but the Gestapo’s former worker
no longer suffers delusions
that the flesh wounds are not mortal.
A skeleton stands
where once the Jewish community
This poem was originally written for the Chapman University Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest 2017. It was inspired by the testimony of Beba Leventhal and David Labkovski’s Marketplace Scene.