Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Question

A Question:

What can we say about the past when so much of the past is lost?

It's a question that I ask myself all the time.  I asked it when I wrote my first poem about my parents in 1979, and it's a question I ask myself whenever I think of my latest book about my parents, Echoes of Tattered Tongues.

My mother felt the weight of her mother's death and her sister's death and her sister's baby's death at the hands of the Germans all her life, but what can I know of those deaths.

There was my mother's horror when she told me the stories, but my mother could not tell me much without breaking down, turning her face and its tears away from me.

And so what's left to learn, what can I know about my mother's grief, my grandmother's face when she was shot again and again, my aunt's absolute sorrow when she saw her baby daughter kicked to death, the baby's screams that would not stop?

There are no photographs of what happened, no news reports, no eye witnesses now that even my mother is gone, and all that's left is just a handful of broken memories that will never truly belong to me.  

What's left to say?

Please let me know.


The photo is of my mom and her sister Zofia who survived the war.  It was taken outside of a refugee camp in Germany.

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