In the Room
We were in a large room together
he and I.
It was filled with relics
Of his past.
Things he had created
To create a childhood for him.
Things THEY had created
To create a childhood for hIm.
He showed me each farce;
Displayed each false memory.
He almost smiled at this one or that,
Upon my query, he explained why.
"I was younger then,
THEY were better then."
"How so?" I was forced to ask.
"in the beginning THEY kept THEIR secret."
He showed me a banner.
Welcome it portrayed in big friendly letters.
"THEY told me it would go to my parents,
At home where they would know things were well."
When I mentioned his parents were separated
By only a few buildings for almost a year:
His eyes turned soft.
He turned to a wall.
"THEY gave me this to complete that day."
That day: the day his parents were sent to the furnace.
The wall was a mural,
A collage of Swastikas and Nazi Eagles.
"THEY thought to keep me busy that day.
THEY thought I wouldn't see,
But I was wise to THEM;
THEY were not so careful by then."
The lines within his forty-something eyes
Stretched with the memory:
Sunk into the past:
Crinkled with his age.
"And so you waited it out?" I asked.
"THEY let me live too long." he corrected.
"I was rescued."
The wrinkles creased
"And how old were you then?"
Three years he had spent in hell.
"And how old are you now?"
He stared at me.
He stared IN me.
"Young man I'm still seventeen."
Poem © 2003 David Fuchs, all rights reserved
appears here by permission
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