A Russian poet in a death camp could not write his poems down so his wife memorized them by heart

By | May 2nd, 2015 | Prose & Cons

by Gillian Wenzel

Poetry is a train
Gathering from the ghettos
The gangs the prisons and the households of xanax
Stuck in the quicksand, the mud
Caking itself on my privileged calves
The lotus cloud of a-bombs
And monks incinerating themselves
And the subtle room where two nuns meet to kiss
Praying with their honest bodies

We are all on our way
Crossing the border with our words
And our calloused feet
We hold accents like swaddled infants
We discard them like my grandmother
Who celebrated citizenship alone
After years in the war
And years in the home that she never felt at home in
And years in the skin she never felt at home in

Some poets grow up fast
Trauma nipping at their heels
Like the stray dogs in sicily
Like the grief that refuses to ever pay rent, move out or move on
30 poets meet to talk about oppression
And I can do nothing but exhale the words that live in my chest

My poet heart was a recycled heart
Given to me the single sari’ed mother
untouchable and poor
The gay child in uganda
The man who leads his family in odyssey across tijuana and past the first
mcdonald’s of san diego and into the strawberry fields of
The young school girls stolen in the night
The protesters under batons and tanks of tiananmen square
Or the round pearl of the roma misnamed enslaved and held in shame
This poem is for all of them
For every soul experiencing genocide of the body or mind
Poetry is a train
Headed towards and away from auschwitz
But always a small freedom
Even in the darkest moon

4:36pm 4/8/2015

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