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by Micheal O’Siadhail

Neat millions of pairs of abandoned shoes
Creased with mute presence of those whose

Faces both stare and vanish. Which ghetto?
Warsaw, Vilna, Lódz, Riga, Kovno.

Eight hundred dark-eyed girls from Salonica
Bony and sag-breasted singing the Hatikvah

Tread the barefoot floor to a shower-room.
Friedländer, Berenstein, Menasche, Blum.

Each someone’s fondled face. A named few.
Did they hold hands the moment they knew?

I’ll change their shame to praise and renown in all
The earth
. . . Always each face and shoeless footfall

A breathing memory behind the gossamer wall.

From The Gossamer Wall: Poems in Witness to the Holocaust by Micheal O’Siadhail. Copyright © 2002 by Time Being Books. Reprinted courtesy of Time Being Press.



© copyright 2008 - Last Updated: 09/19/2021