A C Clarke
A. Garnett Weiss
Anna Maria Mickiewicz
Barbara Anna Gaiardoni
Carrie Magness Radna
Colin Ian Jeffery
Duane L Herrmann
J. Barrett Wolf
Judith R. Robinson
Judith van Dijkhuizen
Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca
Linda M. Crate
Lindsay Soberano Wilson
Lou Ella Hickman
Mary Langer Thompson
Michael H. Brownstein
Rabbi Steven Lebow
Sarah M. Prindle
Stephen E Mead
Susan Beth Furst
Susan M Davis
Tova Hinda Siegel
A C Clarke
A C Clarke, who lives in Glasgow, has published five collections and six pamphlets, two of them collaborative. She was a winner in the Cinnamon Press 2017 pamphlet competition with War Baby and has twice won th Second Light Long Poem Competition. She has been commended in the UK National Poetry Competition (2005) and longlisted in it (2014). Wedding Grief, her most recent collection, was published by Tapsalteerie in 2021.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by A C Clarke and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Today I pass what must have been a tree
vigorous and full of leaves but now
a grey-boned carcass dry as ashes.
Wait! What’s that glimpse of palest yellow
between the long-dead branches?
Primroses opening to whatever sun
they catch under the shadows where
they’ve rooted in the fallen hopes
of the once living, refusing to be cowed.
A. Garnett Weiss
Ontario-based JC Sulzenko’s poetry appears in anthologies and journals in print and online, either under her name or as A. Garnett Weiss. Aeolus House published Bricolage, A Gathering of Centos, a finalist for the 2022 Fred Kerner Book Award (Canadian Authors Association.) Point Petre Publishing released South Shore Suite…POEMS in 2017. JC published six books for children families and a play about dementia. She delivered workshops for the Ottawa International Writers Festival, Ottawa Public Library, many school boards, and Alzheimer societies, among others. She selects for bywords.ca and serves on the Ontario Poetry Society’s Executive Committee. Visit her on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by A. Garnett Weiss and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Youthful voices sing of sunshine,
sleeping children—life’s masterpieces
acquired in small, prairie towns
too many to write down by name
in the quest for an elixir for trauma.
Found poem sources: words and phrases drawn unaltered from death notices and obituary articles published in the April 4, 2017, Toronto Globe and Mail.
Alan Altany is a partially retired, septuagenarian college professor of religious studies and theology. He has been a factory worker, swineherd on a farm, hotel clerk, lawn maintenance worker, high school teacher, small magazine of poetry editor, director of religious education for churches, truck driver, novelist, among other things. In 2022 he published a book of poetry entitled A Beautiful Absurdity (https://www.alanaltany.com/).
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Alan Altany and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
days of eternity
of perfect hate
& the banality
of death’s stench.
with the children,
God buried alive
with the children,
with the children.
faces of children
with their God
of gritty love
after all. Always
Alan Walowitz, from Great Neck, NY, is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, comes from Osedax Press. The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems, is available from Truth Serum Press. From Arroyo Seco Press, is In the Muddle of the Night, written with poet Betsy Mars. Now available for free download– (https://redwolfjournal.wordpress.com/2023/03/07/the-poems-of-the-air-by-alan-walowitz-2/) —is the collection The Poems of the Air from Red Wolf Editions. He has studied poetry-making with Stephen Stepanchev, Colette Inez, Carol Muske, James Reiss, C.K. Williams, Fred Marchant, and Estha Weiner. Though he’s old, he still has so much to learn.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Alan Walowitz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
My father by the water, a one-piece
stretched over his long, skinny chest.
His pals’ arms tossed around one another,
careless and calm, despite the news lurking
behind the front page, just a drumbeat away.
But let me stay here with him at Brighton or Coney,
no telling where these boys had gone.
People were smaller then
and my father was a tall drink,
all elbows and knees,
claimed six feet on his enlistment
and why not, with that crop of hair,
wavy, thick, much like the mess
he passed on to me.
He should be happy here, the youngest son,
born both feet here, strictly a this-side man,
not made for his father’s Lumber and Wrecking
over on Flushing. Maybe a doctor, a lawyer like his brother,
ambition befitting a youngest son.
This Jeremiah, to be exalted, never of woe.
I want to get in that picture with him
and tell him something important,
something I’ve been meaning to say:
Maybe–it’s okay to be happy.
I won’t warn him about what’s to come,
the camps he’d see as he made his way
with the Army, first to England, then France,
through Belgium, then across the Rhine–
and what he’d never say he saw.
But how could you avert your eyes?
Skin and bone, barely alive,
and barely a voice among them,
just empty upon empty,
hunger beyond hunger.
I want to tell you it’ll be all right,
all will be saved and fed,
and those who bear witness will be made whole.
But I can’t. I’d be lying.
So often you told me not to lie.
It’s better to say nothing.
Alex Chornyj is a poet from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada. He has been writing for the better part of forty years. He has been published in online publications such as Poetry Super Highway, in many books, magazines and journals. His writing has a celestial and transcendent influence being connected to his inner spirit and earth’s elements. In 2020 he published threeo poetry books and two childrens’ books. These three creations represent the culmination of his lifelong dreams and persistence. His books are available at amazon.com and amazon.ca.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Alex Chornyj and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Storm clouds were brewing
Nazis were going
Door to door, house to house
We had little time.
The hour was upon us
To flee with the underground
By the guise of night
To enable our escape.
A number of families
Youngsters old enough
To understand the gravity
Of the situation.
As we were star people
A threatened race
By one who would exterminate
To appease his anxiety.
We wished to cohabitate
Not with such conditions
To be caught so meant
A certain death sentence.
Others gone before
The luck of the draw
To be silent
Without any noise.
To give away
Would be a fatal mistake
Held against our will
To become casualties
Once behind the barb wire fences
Never to be heard from again.
We were on the move
The world we left behind
Was no looking back
Just listen and learn.
To act beyond our years
To even have a chance
Of reaching the forest
Where freedom may be found.
Alex lives in Minneapolis. Visit him on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Alex Stolis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
April 4, 1945
It was a day like any other day, it was a day
like no other, there were thin gray lines that
looked like trees, there were robins chirping
for their mothers; it was a Wednesday the sun
hung low but there was no warmth, it was ten
thousand years ago, it was yesterday; there were
soundless voices, it was a nightmare after waking,
it was a dream unable to sleep, there were prayers
there were words with no meaning; it was the third
day of the week, the 94th day of the year, the earth
was a raw wound, the sky speckled with paint-by-
number clouds; there were men weeping but no
tears, there were 271 days left in the year, 34 days
left to war; it will never happen again, will never
be forgotten; it’s started.
*On this date, Ohrdruf forced labor camp, part of the Buchenwald concentration camp network, was the first camp to be liberated by US troops, the 4th Armored Division and the 89th Infantry.
Anita Lerek is a young writer, old mask. She has spent her adult life juggling business (as a lawyer and a recruiter) with the enchantment of poetry. The visual arts, jazz, and social justice are life-long influences. Born abroad (Poland), she retains a sense of otherness. Some sample poetry publication credits include One Art Journal of Poetry, MacQueen’s Quinterly, and Silver Birch Press. She was nominated for Best of the Net, 2022, and is co-founder of a women’s online poetry group, Change Artists. She lives with her archivist husband in Toronto, Canada. Visit Anita on Facebook here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Anita Lerek and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Generations Of The Aftermath
The holiday candle figures
chase one another, trembling
to stay alive. We sit around
the table celebrating miracles.
In the wartime Warsaw Ghetto,*
you sketch the misery—
Hanukkah, 1941, means
children at street corners
hunched over as tiny elders;
authorities nabbing bodies
to deport: not criminals, just Jews.
And the price of bread mounts,
the power, cut.
In secret diaries, you cry out
how your people are half-naked,
starved, diseased, dying, dead.
How you used to be human
swotting down schnapps in smoky rooms
with Gorky, Louis Armstrong,
friends hollering all around.
You are human, your words are rags
wrapped around volcanoes
of crowds charging streets
of briefly unlocked sunlight.
Pictures obsess on sleepless ceilings
directed by evil and indifference.
Spectator, victim, you rage to undo
the scenes. But the film is wound,
the pillow burst. Feathers sail in deaf air,
no turning back.
Here, now, the candles have gone out,
your bodies are pinned to the after light.
Through woody pages,
you lead her to us—
the black coat, the tiny feet,
just out of your bones for a second,
no purse, no key—
she toddles off . . .
street blocked, the bird cannot fly,
Author’s Note: *The Jews of Warsaw and from other areas were locked into the Warsaw Ghetto by the Nazi German regime, as part of the Holocaust of WW2. ^Inspiration here from the writings of martyrs, Abraham Lewin and Emanuel Ringelblum.
Originally published (earlier version), in Verse-Virtual online poetry journal.
Anna Maria Mickiewicz
Anna Maria Mickiewicz is a poet, writer, editor, translator, and publisher. She lives in London. Founder of the publishing house Literary Waves. Anna moved to California and then to London. Her poetic works have appeared in the United States, UK, Australia, Canada, Poland, Mexico, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Salvador, India. She was honoured with the Gloria Artis medal, the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity and The Joseph Conrad Literary Prize (USA). In 2013 at the University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies, she organized the World Premiere of World Poetry Day – European Literary Dialogues.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Anna Maria Mickiewicz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Ghetto – the barbed wire […] life continues on the other side. People walk around, their steps slow or fast, the way they used to. Several metres away, two women stand on the edge of the pavement, engaged in an animated conversation. They seem not to notice me. In reality the distance between us is immeasurable. We are divided with a wire mesh bristling with spikes […]. ~ Anna Langfus
Lublin Poets: Julia Hartwig, Anna Kamieńska
and a refugee
a French author
Anna Szternfinkiel – Langfus*
enchanted in French braids
in French words
24c Lubartowska Street in Lublin
once an elegant tenement building
right next to the crossroads
once a ritual bathhouse
Anna lived nearby as a child
once a barber
his blue advert remained
after the war
now a plaque dedicated to Anna
in these mould-smelling alleys
on wooden staircases
on crumbling pavements
we were running
to the school named after another poet, Józef Czechowicz
for so many years
we children from
the mute city of Lublin
* Anna Langfus nee Szternfinkiel, born 2 January 1920 in Lublin (Poland), died 12 May 1966 in Paris. She was also a Holocaust survivor. She received the Goncourt Award in 1962 for her book Les bagages de sable.
Teatr NN Lublin, Poland
Austin Alexis is the author of the full-length collection Privacy Issues (Broadside Lotus Press, Madgett Poetry Award) and two previously published chapbooks from Poets Wear Prada: Lovers and Drag Queens and For Lincoln & Other Poems. His poetry, fiction and reviews have appeared in Barrow Street, Hawaii Pacific Review, Plath Profiles, Flash Boulevard, 10 by 10 Flash Fiction, the anthology Rabbit Ears: TV Poems and elsewhere, and is scheduled to appear in American Book Review. He has received support from the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He lives in New York City.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Austin Alexis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
You tell me the Holocaust never happened.
But my friend’s troubled mother–
once U.S. soldiers yanked her free,
once she whizzed her way to heavenly America–
trudged around Yonkers with numerals
tattooed in engrained ink on her arm:
the Nazi’s identification system.
That cruel and cuckoo math
would cling to her for life.
You tell me she concocted the convoluted tale
for sympathy or to reign as a drama queen.
You stroke and feed your feeble untruth,
your deliberate unknowledge.
Yet, the inner side of her upper-left forearm
was armed with numbers that outed your lie.
Thirteen years after Auschwitz, cancer
did a number on my friend’s mom.
You tell me there is no connection.
And you know that–how?
Those many digits you punched into her
needled her body and her psyche,
and the two dwelled and ached,
With her spirit punctured,
her body did not stand a chance.
Austin McCarron lives in London and has appeared in The Robin Hood Book, Van Gogh’s Ear, Poetry Salzburg, Survivors’ Poetry and others.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Austin McCarron and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Death of Humanity
Confessing to responsibility
for the death of humanity with
huge reservations I retreat and
drinking deserts of abundant water
I walk in peace with the midnight sun
and reaching the snow fields with grim
theologies I scatter my devotions and
the crimson heaven bleeds with light.
Ayala Zarfjian is an Israeli-born American poet. Her first book, Second Chances: Poetry of a Sun-kissed Life, won theNext Generation Indie Book Award. Ayala is also the author of A Corner in the World: Holocaust Poems for My Father. In these poems, Ayala captured the actions and feelings of her father, her aunt Shelley, and her grandparents. This unforgettable and powerful collection was written for them, for all those that survived, and for those that perished.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Ayala Zarfjian and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
For Aunt Sally Eckhaus
I no longer remember the sound of her laughter.
I no longer remember the scent of her perfume.
Did she bake challah for the sabbath?
Did her hands form a perfect braid?
The wind whispered her name.
Her hair flowed when she walked.
Darkness, illuminated by her smile.
She embraced her husband for the last time.
The memories of their newlywed days sustained her.
Their faces beamed when they found each other in a crowd.
Their hearts beat as one.
Their unconscious flowing tenderness was seamless.
A dance of life, filled with beauty and kindness.
Sally mourned my beloved uncle’s death.
Devastated and alone she returned
to reclaim their home.
The villagers that pillaged their possessions
took her life.
Her body was dismembered.
I imagine all the places where
the parts were thrown.
Patches of beautiful lilies grew there.
Barbara Anna Gaiardoni
Barbara Anna Gaiardoni is an Italian pedagogist, author, doodler, ex-violinist, and former swimmer. She has participated in national literary and poetic competitions, obtaining the publication of her texts; currently publishes Japanese poems in English in international trade journals. Cooking, drawing, dancing salsa, and walking in nature are his passions. Her motto is “I can, I must, I will do it”.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Barbara Anna Gaiardoni and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
open-hearted repose in “don’t know”
as you let this barbarity drift away
simplicity is very difficult for twisted minds
Barrie Levine, from Wenham MA north of Boston, retired from the practice of divorce law in 2016 and soon developed a passion for haiku poetry. She teaches memoir writing classes at a senior center and writes a blog entitled “72 is the New 72” at barrielevine.com. Other than being an enthusiastic grandmother, Barrie’s life is all about writing. She recently achieved a life goal of publishing in print: her collection of haiku and senryu entitled COTTON MOON.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Barrie Levine and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
the weight of grandpa’s satchel
from the old country
Charlotte Digregorio Writer’s Blog, 2022
Betsey Cullen lives in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. She studies and teaches poetry at the University of Delaware’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. A prize-wining poet, her collection, Our Place in Line, won Tiger’s Eye Press’ 2015 Chapbook Competition. Her second chapbook, We Hold the Bones won Heartland Review Press’ 2022 competition.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Betsey Cullen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Holocaust and Heroism
Montegut, France 1942
Christian villagers turn their backs
as French gendarmes
herd 37 Jewish children
onto a bus bound for Auschwitz.
A Swiss Red Cross nurse follows closely
enters the German camp
refuses to leave
until the Nazis free her flock
from the slaughter-bound
into her embrace.
Pelham, New York 2010
born to Jew and Gentile,
sleeps in my arms.
I pull her close, pray
that I could have
Published by Tigers’ Eye Press: Our Place in Line, a chapbook by Betsey Cullen
And in Resistance Poems Anthology, ed. Taylor Savath and Una Gritz
Betsy Mars is a prize-winning poet, a photographer, and an editor at Gyroscope Review. She lives in Torrance, California where she works as a substitute teacher. Betsyis a Best of the Net and Pushcart nominee. Her photos have been published in Rattle (as the Ekphrastic Challenge prompt), Redheaded Stepchild, and as a cover image for Spank the Carp. In addition to her chapbook collaboration with Alan Walowitz, she recently worked with artist Judith Christensen on an installation in San Diego which is part of an ongoing exploration of memory, identity, home, and family.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Betsy Mars and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
They are ghosts I remember yearly.
They have no shape, so like spirit
I can’t see clearly. They take the form
of holes in conversation, fruitless
branches on the family tree, gaps
in heredity, missing parts
of my identity. I never knew them,
even in story, but knew that they existed,
cousins, uncles, dark-eyed aunts.
The unspoken of, the extinguished,
the ones my parents gave no names
who stayed behind. They dance,
once more alive, burning in remembrance
in a million yahrzeit flames.
Beverly Fenig’s poems have appeared in small press journals, online publications, and poetry anthologies. The poem “The Faithful” is from a volume of poems she published entitled Taking Leave. She is also the author of a chapbook entitled Adjunct and Poems of Living Poor. She resides in NYC, and is an adjunct lecturer at CUNY where she has taught writing courses for many years.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Beverly Fenig and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
In Auschwitz, men of faith
Formed a tribunal
And put God on trial.
They found Him
Guilty of the most unspeakable crimes
And acts against humanity.
At its conclusion
Outraged, broken, the faithful
Shook their feeble fists
Against the sky,
And at sight of the setting sun
That it was time
For their evening prayers.
Beverly Magid had written three novels, Flying Out of Brooklyn, Sown in Tears and Where Do I Go, before turning back to poetry. Her work has appeared in Muddy River Poetry Journal, Freshwater Journal, Stick Figure Poetry Journal, On the Bus, Poetry Super Highway, On the Bus and the anthology Side-Eye on the Apocalypse. “It was the pandemic,” she said, “which made it imperative to find a direct route into life through the written word. That’s poetry.” A long-time Los Angeles resident, she admits that her heart still commutes often to her former home, NY, NY. Visit Beverly on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Beverly Magid and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
First their cries were soft
like the mewing of a kitten
then louder like the beating of a drum
suddenly they exploded like the ending of the world
lives ripped away as if they never existed
Jews in towns disappeared
Who can believe the evil of neighbor to neighbor
who can bear the silence of so many
who will survive in a camp
of tattooed numbers and showers of death
Lord don’t forget them
return the world to sanity and love
their voices once soft now rage in our ears
if we don’t speak who will be left to care?
Brian lives in Guelph, ON, and loves it here, except for the weather. By day he is a literary agent; by night, a poet, of sorts. In his spare time he watches tennis on tv and is a decent recreational player. He lives with his wife, Rachel, and a beagle-shar pei mix named Yuki, who is snoring under my desk as I write.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Brian Wood and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
There was once a great big beer hall
Putsch at Hofbrauhaus, so many
Drunk Germans, such great fun. And some
Of them tried to shoot an Austrian,
A former corporal, but they missed.
Next up, Bavaud, a Swiss bible
Student, who knew, somehow, that this
Former corporal was in fact
Morning star: but there were far too
Many folks in the way: he did
Not even shoot; just no clean sight.
Then a carpenter built one bomb
To do one beautiful thing. Just
As he planned, the bomb went off on
Time–and did kill eight Nazis. But
Not the right one, not the target.
Up next there’s Tresckow, the clever
Staff officer, who hid a bomb
On the plane of that bright angel,
Who fell so far from heaven. A
Fallible fuse felled this fun plan.
Then Gertsdorff, another staff man,
Another would be bomber; he
Was giving The Fearless Leader
A tour of captured Red Army
Trophies. The plan? Blow himself up,
And with any luck, take out Herr
Fearless Leader at the same time:
There was no luck. None. They both lived.
Finally, Valkyrie, the one
They do movies about…since none
Of us can believe this one failed:
Some fool S.S. trooper moving
Stauffenberg’s well placed bomb. There were
Four Nazis killed, but alas, not
The son of the morning.
The very hairs on our head are
Numbered, our Father cares that much.
Such love, such care, that he spared our
Great adversary a sextet
Of chances. Such love that there was
None left for the peculiar
People, passing away one by
One in the fields of Ravensbruck.
As for the chosen, those happy
Sons and daughters of that solemn
Covenant, now close to the end
In Oswiecim, they must have been
Wondering…Where is Ha Shem? Where
Are his mighty acts? As thorns cut
Up, we burn in the chambers of fire.
Bruce Black is editorial director of The Jewish Writing Project. His poetry and personal essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Soul-Lit, The BeZine, Bearings, Poetry Super Highway, Poetica, Lehrhaus, Atherton Review, Elephant Journal, Tiferet, Hevria, Jewthink, The Jewish Literary Journal, Mindbodygreen, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. He lives in Sarasota, FL. Visit Bruce on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Bruce Black and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
When I was a boy
When I was a boy
I was afraid to tell
anyone I was a Jew
afraid they’d see
me walking into
for Hebrew school
afraid they’d see
through the window
the Shabbat candles
that Mom lit on Friday
night in our dining room
afraid they’d see
the mezuzot nailed
to the doorposts of
our front and back doors
the mezuzah that
Aunt Sylvia kissed
with her fingertips
each time she entered
or left the house
afraid they’d hear me
reading Hebrew letters
from my siddur
afraid they’d take
me into a dark alley,
even though there
were no dark alleys
in the suburban
streets where I grew up,
and beat me for
being a Jew
afraid they’d force
me at gunpoint
with the rest of my
family to walk
through the streets
of northern New Jersey
to the train depot
and ship us in
cattle cars to the camps
even though the only
place the trains went
was Hoboken and then
into lower Manhattan.
No longer am I a child
but an adult and yet,
and yet I am still afraid
to tell anyone
I am a Jew,
of the tragedies
that have befallen
for being Jews.
Carol Dorf is a Zoeglossia fellow, whose poetry has been published in three chapbooks. Her poetry has also appeared in “About Place,” “Cutthroat” “Wordpeace,” “Unlikely Stories,” “Slipstream,” “The Mom Egg,” “Sin Fronteras,” “The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics,” “Scientific American,” and “Maintenant.” She is founding poetry editor of Talking Writing, and lives and teaches in Berkeley, CA.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Carol Dorf and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Only at night could my Golem rise from the old futon and leave the basement. Once my Golem paused by the river – No Access – Peligrosa. A guard dog paced behind the gate.
I should have prepared more notes for the Golem, said the Sofer.
The Golem can’t decide on pronouns. For a while I pretended to understand, offered more clay and slip to allow for adjustments.
Dreams interrupted by bombs and prisoners. It is no wonder the Golem paced through the night crashing into the old statues, warriors that fill the plaza.
On the fourth night a prisoner invented an ally much like the Golem with an additional ammunition belt. Constellations would have filled the sky but floodlights erased all but the crescent moon.
Sometimes my Golem would ask for paper and pencil. The words they wrote were incomprehensible – stick figures in the margin walked through what could have been a moon.
Once my Golem tried to eat, tearing plums off the tree and swallowing them whole. No one commented on the distended belly. Upon encountering the Golem or the prisoner, the witnesses’ eyes couldn’t blink quickly enough.
After the war, before the Golem lost the word beneath its tongue, the prisoner asked, Tell me the truth – did you know what was happening there? On that night the moon was full, showing not just the outlines of trees but the patterns of their leaves.
Carolyne Wright’s latest books are Masquerade, a memoir in poetry (Lost Horse Press, 2021) and This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems (Lost Horse, 2017), whose title poem received a Pushcart Prize and appeared in The Best American Poetry. A Seattle native who has lived and taught all over the country, and on fellowships in Chile, Brazil, India and Bangladesh, she has 16 earlier books and anthologies of poetry, essays, and translation. A Contributing Editor for the Pushcart Prizes, Carolyne has received NEA and 4Culture grants, and a 2022-2023 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Brazil. She lives in Seattle. Visit Carolyne on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Carolyne Wright and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
After Forty Years
“Don’t tell me about the bones of Mengele,
the bones are alive and well.”
–Michael Dennis Browne
They’ve found the body
of the Angel of Death,
a bundle of brown bones
and scraps of skin
tossed like market produce
in the gravedigger’s tray.
He can be himself now
for his loved ones–those
who took no chances
with the forged passports, bribes,
code words filing past the censors,
never breaking the family silence.
Himself now, for those
whose mouths gaped on silence,
survivors staring through barbed wire
in the abandoned camps,
stumbling chance their messenger,
those for whom the bones
will always be alive and well.
Finally, the tribunal of Embú,
plain light of the TV anchor’s day.
Cameras cross-haired on the throats
of witnesses who shrugged
and said nothing, while for years
ash drift, fosses of lime,
the dead kept listening.
He was never sorry.
Death had grown old by the end,
familiar with his dreams:
water burning blue
off the coast of Brazil
like gas jets turned on full.
Strange how the bones are blameless,
the body dissolved as anyone’s–
those who walked into the flames
with the prayer for the dead in their mouths,
the angel in his name
passing over the gates of the camps.
Carrie Magness Radna
Carrie Magness Radna is a librarian, an Associate Editor of Brownstone Poets, a singer and a poet who loves traveling (when it’s safe). Her poems have previously appeared in Muddy River Poetry Review, Poetry Super Highway, et al. She is the Third Prize Winner of 91st Annual Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition (Rhyming Poetry) with her poem “Pink (A Ghazal)” (2022) and was recently nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize. Her latest poetry collection, Shooting myself in the dark, was recently published by Cajun Mutt Press in January 2023. Born in Norman, Oklahoma, she lives in New York City. https://carriemagnessradna.com
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Carrie Magness Radna and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
(inspired from themes presented in The Innocents / by Francesca Segal)
My Nana stole some cupcakes
that no one had wanted
from the refreshments table,
during my school’s Christmas pageant,
when I sang a solo (I was twelve).
The lady who headed
the refreshments table
didn’t turn her in,
but did say under her breath:
“Those damned Jews,
they always steal baked stuff.”
I was embarrassed of my Nana,
but my parents sat me down,
& explained about the Holocaust.
Nana only baked on Yom Kippur.
She would bake cookies, cakes
& mini-tarts all day;
she never cooked for the rest
of the year. She ate only delivered
food, & had her lunches
5 times-a-week at the
Hebrew Senior Center,
where she ate with other
talking about their dogs
& families, never about
what they went through
in their twenties.
In our twenties,
my fiancé once
made a harsh comment
about her baking on Yom Kippur,
how it was not allowed
& we should all fast.
closed her eyes,
& shook her head,
“I have fasted enough
in my lifetime.”
Christine lives in Gloucestershire UK. She writes poetry and short stories and is widely published both in the UK and abroad. She is active in the poetry scene in her area and has performed at both the Cheltenham Poetry Festival and the Cheltenham Literature Festival. A recent visit to Poland prompted the poems about Warsaw and the Holocaust.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Christine Griffin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
A glowing window lit by a star
draws us from cobbled streets
alive with Christmas cheer.
Warmed by hot wine
we smile at the scene –
the star from the east,
shepherds and kings, solid beasts,
the baby, soft-cocooned.
A cold fog begins to creep from the shadows.
Revellers fall silent as a ghostly violin
begins a mournful elegy.
Faint prayers for the dead
whisper through the lanes.
The window glass reflects
a weeping mother clinging to her child,
a man clutching a basket of stars.
An endless cortege stumbles past
hounded by jeers and whip-sharp taunts.
In the lamplight the alleys weep
at the sound of cattle trucks and stench of smoke
drifting from nearby forests.
Above the domed and steepled town
The silent stars go by.
Colin Ian Jeffery
Colin Ian Jeffery is an English poet, novelist and humourist. He was seven, a choirboy, when he became entranced by poetry after hearing the twenty-third psalm read in church. The beauty of the words struck his soul like lightning and his Muse began to sing. He then found poetry read on the BBC radio Home Service and listened in awe and delight to such poets as Dylan Thomas, John Betjeman, and Ted Hughes.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Colin Ian Jeffery and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Two little girls
(Nazis exterminated six million Jews)
Little dark-haired Jewish girl
Too young to go to school
Strips naked beside her mother
Frightened eyes gazing all around
Seeing women and children stripping
Friends and neighbours from the ghetto.
German soldier hardened to task
Opens shower doors with a curse
Shouts for women and children to enter.
Pushes weeping girl as she passes him
Slams and bolts door behind her
Oblivious to mother’s desperate pleas.
Gas hisses from hidden vents
Terrified mothers hold children
Cradled dying to their bosoms
Trying to hide death from their eyes
Whispering words of love
Victims of Hitler’s Final Solution.
Tall blond SS officer in black uniform
Proud husband and father
Supervises burning of bodies
Goes home to his daughter
Same age as dark-haired Jewish girl
Lovingly rocks her to sleep on his knee.
Daphne Milne writes poems, flash fiction and short stories which are published in print and online in magazines and anthologies internationally. After five years in Fremantle, Western Australia she has returned to the UK where she lives just outside Exeter. She has read regularly at Perth International Poetry Festival. A Katharine Susannah Pritchard fellow for 2021 she regularly presents workshops for both poetry and prose in Australia and the UK. Nominated for the Forward Prize for 2022. Her pamphlet The Blue Boob Club was published in 2019. Two new pamphlets are due out in May and December 2023.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Daphne Milne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
We are made of clay
pinched pounded coiled
fired like pots
spilled or spilling life
to clay we will return
Cacophony of lost
souls singing psalms
grayness into darkness
gnashing of teeth
Lighten — O — lighten
Darcy’s roots are in the South and now calls New Jersey her home. A marketing writer by profession, she turns to poetry as a creative outlet. Her poetry has been published on Ritualwell.com and in a Ukraine anthology by Moonstone Arts Center. She participated in the Poets and Scholars Writing Retreat 2022, sponsored by Rutgers’ Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice. Her articles have appeared in Momentmag.com, The Times of Israel and The Jewish Community Voice. She also has had two short stories published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Visit Darcy on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Darcy Grabenstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Weeds overrun my garden
their mangy masses multiplying
but they don’t fool me
their green exteriors mocking me,
stalks standing straight
like soldiers sending
Among the weeds
I find, to my surprise,
a sprawling cactus
its yellow blooms
a badge of beauty
among its prickly
spines that protect it
But its spines
than a deterrent
in the desert
they create shade
where there is none
they prevent the loss
in the harshest
What an anomaly
out of nowhere
out of place
in New Jersey yet
where it manages
to make itself
right at home
the wild, wanton weeds
I proceed warily
floppy hat, sunscreen
A cactus has roots
that reach deep
into the ground
to absorb water
and I wrestle with
the weeds’ roots
as I struggle
to exhume them
a blight upon
As I work
my mind wanders
to my own roots
to those uprooted
from their homes
their loved ones
to the roots of evil today
and I tug with might
at the intruders
in my garden
Dave Ludford is a writer hailing from Nuneaton, England. His work has appeared at Poetry Super Highway, Leaves Of Ink, Schlock! Webzine, 365 Tomorrows & Sirens Call amongst others.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Dave Ludford and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Station Platform
Stepping on to the station platform the first thing he hears is
The sibilant hiss of a train’s whistle, muffled through billowing, swirling steam.
Then harshly barked orders, staccato short words in a language he doesn’t understand.
Babies and small children begin to cry,
Men and women shout out in confusion, then
Screams for mercy as someone is seemingly beaten;
The hard thump of metal on soft flesh: a rifle butt?
He cannot be sure, but sees the slow, snaking trickle
Of blood through dust.
More barked orders, louder now, more insistent and urgent.
Further cries of confusion then the scrambling of feet in many directions.
The rolling and slamming of cattle truck doors, a dozen at least.
Voices muted now. Occasional screams, fading.
The grinding, whining screech of metal on metal as the train pulls slowly away.
He reaches the platform’s end; can hear now only the happy melodies of birdsong,
The tuneless whistling of a porter pushing a trolley.
He smiles broadly.
All is right with the world once more.
He curses his overactive imagination.
Then, turning, sees the stacked pile of suitcases.
David Eberhardt, 81, lives in Baltimore, Md. He has written three chapbooks and a peace movement memoir: For All the Saints, a Protest Primer. He received a full and unconditional pardon after having served 21 months in federal prison for an anti-war protest. He considers himself a Goth/Elizabethan and outlaw poet.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by David Eberhardt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
In Mem: Annaliese Frank
(thanks to the National Geographic Special on Ann Frank and the Holocaust)
The archaeology of genocide
Proceeds at Sobibor…
Slow sifting digging down shows that
Human teeth deteriorate less rapidly…
The person in hijab escorted out
From a trump rally along with a seat mate with a yellow star.
The Dutch police, the Ferguson police,
Are present – Bergen Belsen, Westerbork.
Anneliese on the last train to the east
Where none return-she dies, next, the war ends.
Please connect these dots
To the right wing of today, please?
Human teeth deteriorate less rapidly,
Townspeople claim they did not see.
Poet, fantasy writer, one-time academic, David lives in France in a village squeezed between the forest and the Seine.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by David Horner and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Trains Came
The trains came,
Its lame excuse
The girl watched:
Wrapped in rags
The trains came,
The man watched,
His loaded gun
A coward’s prop,
His sins corrupting
Beyond the wire
Debbie Walker-Lass is a poet, collage artist, and writer living in Decatur, Georgia. Her work has appeared in several journals and magazines, including The Ekphrastic Journal, Poetry Quarterly, Haikuniverse, The Light Ekphrastic and Natural Awakenings, Atlanta, among others. When not creating, she can be found beachcombing on Tybee Island or hanging out with her husband, Burt, and dog, Maddie.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Debbie Walker-Lass and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The ABCs of a Forgotten Heroine
A fourteen year old girl from the Netherlands, Freddie Oversteegen lived on a
Barge with her mother, Trijn, and sister, Truu, while German officers surveyed the town
Camping close to the Jews, her mother hid in the boat stern, she was radicalized
Divorced, with mouths to feed, Trijn nevertheless schooled her young daughters,
Educating them in the art of resistance, their quick minds were made battle-ready
Fumes emanated from the barge as Trijn burned opposition pamphlets to charred ash-
German soldiers had occupied the town, she moved her daughters closer to
Haarlem, a small town with a big Nazi presence. Trijn remained committed to the cause:
Innocence and youth were on Truu and Freddie’s side, braided hair and bicycles
Juxtaposed their task: to assassinate German SS agents, recruited by the resistance as
Killers, to take out Nazis, one by one. It was a simple plan: Freddie rode by on her bike-
Luring an officer into the woods with a shy smile and the bait of youth and beauty, their
Method, a lethal hit straight to the heart, Truu firing safely from behind a sheltering tree-
Nazi’s were men, after all, and the promise of a rendezvous with pretty Freddie
Often led to death for an unsuspecting would-be Romeo, gone before a
Plea could escape his mouth, body fallen and twisted, eyes wide with an unanswered
Question. The sisters were joined by Hannie Shaft, the notorious “Redheaded girl,”
Regarding death as a grim necessity, the three “zusters” didn’t tally up the kills.
Shooting quickly was the only mercy they ever lent, many successful encounters
Tempered by the deaths of four Jewish children, ambushed during a flight to freedom
United, they kept each other sane until Hannie, with her hair dyed black, was caught,
Vastly unawares, at a checkpoint- a soldier, noticing her red roots flattened her just as the
War was winding down, she died just eighteen days before the liberation of Haarlem
Xenophobia halted, for a time, the Oversteegen girls had families of their own,
Yet the war raged on in Freddie’s head, her peace was not easily grasped, the
Zenith of her life was aged sixteen, although she lived until ninety had passed.
Diana Raab is a poet, memoirist, blogger, speaker, and award-winning author of thirteen books of poetry and nonfiction. Her writings have been published and anthologized world-wide. She blogs for Psychology Today, The Wisdom Daily and Thrive Global and is a guest blogger for many others. She frequently speaks on writing for healing and transformation based on her book is Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Program for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life. Her latest poetry collection is An Imaginary Affair: Poems Whispered to Neruda. Visit her at: dianaraab.com.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Diana Raab and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
My Father’s Obsessions
Cream cheese on pumpernickel,
one-hour coughing spells,
half smoked cigarettes
snoring on his back,
disgust for vegetables, except tomatoes,
vanilla pudding with its film,
creamy potato salad,
chopped liver loaded with onions,
runny cherry pie,
finely mashed potatoes, no chunks,
filet of sole swimming in butter,
shredded borscht soup,
two scoops of vanilla ice cream,
the evening news in bed,
climbing into the driver’s seat,
hot bagels on Sunday morning,
ice hockey afternoons,
weekly lottery tickets
which he swore would change his life forever,
then he died and nothing mattered anymore,
except my memories of him
carved into my cancerous landscape—
sister wounds to his Holocaust experience,
painted upon our genetics
and his mother’s cooking,
recipes passed down
and how each time I eat fish filets
his face flashes before me,
and the smell of bagel stores
shares sprinkles memories of my youth,
now fifty years later as I serve
my own family cherry pie
coated with vanilla ice cream—
once again reminds
me of the first man I ever loved
and will never forget—my father.
DIANA ROSEN is the author of “High Stakes & Expectations” from thetinypublisher.com, a compilation of micro flash and poetry and the recipient of two Pushcart nominations and one for the Best of the Net. She lives in Los Angeles where she writes essays, flash, and poetry. To read more of her work, please visit her portfolio site, authory.com/dianarosen
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Diana Rosen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Never again is
a whisper now, overwhelmed
by festering hate.
Fight back, you say, you
of shattering grief, nightmares,
who know freedom’s joy.
Vote, they say, Not with
wallets, for Israel but for
justice, for all. All.
Doris Fiszer is an award-winning Canadian poet. Her debut collection Locked in Different Alphabets (Silver Bow Publishing) was nominated for the 2021 Archibald Lampman Award. She has published two chapbooks, The Binders and Sasanka (Wild Flower). Awards include the 2017 John Newlove Award and Tree Press’s 2016 Chapbook Award for The Binders, also a nominee for the bpNichol Award. Her poems have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies across Canada and the United States. She is a contributing editor for Arc Poetry Magazine and a member of Ruby Tuesday’s poetry writing group in Ottawa, Ontario.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Doris Fiszer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Isn’t Hatred the Most Devastating of Earth’s Upheavals?
My parents’ war imprinted
in my genes—
a shattered plate
a thunder clap
a stranger’s knock
Their childhoods weighty with the stench of sorrow.
Don’t all mothers birth with courage
and silent prayers of hope,
with tender hands warm newborns’ feet
bathe infants in the same river
under the same sky?
The opposite of war—
stripping off the shutters that blind us.
And the fragrance of the garden
in early summer
before the fighting begins
before the bricks start falling.
Duane L Herrmann
Internationally published, award-winning poet and historian, Herrmann has work translated into several languages, published in a dozen countries, in print and online. He has seven full-length collections of poetry, a sci fi novel, a history book, and more chapbooks. His poetry has received the Robert Hayden Poetry Fellowship, inclusion in American Poets of the 1990s, Map of Kansas Literature (website), Kansas Poets Trail and others. These accomplishments defy his traumatic childhood embellished by dyslexia, ADHD, a form of mutism and, now, PTSD. He spends his time on the prairie with trees in the breeze and writes – and loves moonlight!
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Duane L Herrmann and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
From the Grave
Miklós Radnóti: 1909-1944*
Too weak to walk
at the roadside shot –
Needing medical care
but there was none
on the hillside road
far from everywhere.
the rest marched on,
their only crime
From that mass grave
poems in his pocket
found by his wife,
proclaim sanity and culture
in a world gone mad.
*( raised in an assimilated Jewish family who personally converted as a young man, but that did not matter to the Nazis. He was drafted and assigned to a “Jewish” labor unit.)
Eduard Schmidt-Zorner is a translator and writer of poetry, haibun, haiku, and short stories. He writes in four languages: English, French, Spanish, and German and holds workshops on Japanese and Chinese style poetry and prose and experimental poetry. Member of four writer groups in Ireland. Lives in County Kerry, Ireland, for more than 30 years and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany. Published in over 200 anthologies, literary journals, and broadsheets in USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Austria, France, Bangladesh, India, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, and Nigeria. He also writes under his penname Eadbhard McGowan. Visit Eduard on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Eduard Schmidt-Zorner and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Barbed wire as bitter ornament,
these dark butterflies of filament
do not fly away.
Water drops and tears
hanging from the thread.
The poles vibrate in the wind,
memorials for the dead.
The ear pressed to the wall.
Do you see the shadows
in an empty hall?
Was it a sigh? A cry far away?
Where are they gone?
Above you, shuffling,
beneath you, marching,
never a response,
silence is deafening.
Love was not present,
grief vanished, replaced by woe.
All pleading in vain.
Did they suspect it?
Have they been warned?
Were not dark birds on the branches?
Was there no sign on the wall?
Ellen Sander, daughter of European immigrants, writes from Belfast, Maine, on the midcoast. A native New Yorker, she’s lived in Bolinas and Venice Beach, CA and in Xiamen and Beijing, PRC, where she was an editor, an English teacher and a TV commercial actress. Visit on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Ellen Sander and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Mother Bones (Ghazal for 27 January 1945)
Deep in limbs’ hardened cores drum bones
on metal stairs, the holocaust of rumble bones.
In ashes even, chips of bones, refuse to crumble into dust
labor, groan, unbend, motion stumble bones.
Holding quiet day of pain, handprints pressing into sand,
bare footprint in the dust recall ecru crumbs of bones.
Widows weep at crypts and stones above the children’s’ graves,
the lost and hungry unmarked graves lay on humble bones.
I, in aches and hesitation, climb stairs slow, grip
bannisters of houses made of brick and lumber bones.
Emilio D. Puerta has been writing for over a decade, and still striving for a name in the backlots as he vents his eclectic voice to whomsoever would listen. His determination through it all can be found in the words he writes and the soul he conveys. Toronto-born with Colombian roots, Emilio is as multifaceted in his personality as he is in his writing, but you’ll never know his story if you never read him through.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Emilio Puerta and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Where Lilacs Grow
Beyond the furthest mountain peak,
Where rivers gently flow;
Where balmy breezes stir the air,
And hallowed bliss is ev’rywhere–
There lies the place the heartsick seek
To end their woe.
The splendour drives away despair,
And makes assertive of the meek.
More teachings than through sages flow
In the land where lilacs grow.
No winters e’er release their chill,
No clouds e’er cross the sky.
No perils lurk to stain with dread
The land to which the dying head
In want to have one final thrill
Before they die.
Beneath the lilacs lie the dead–
A promise that, should times grow ill,
In death we’ll meet, in death we’ll go
To the land where lilacs grow.
Fokkina McDonnell now lives near The Hague, the Netherlands. Her poems have been widely published and anthologised. She has three poetry collections (Another life, Oversteps Books Ltd, 2016; Nothing serious, nothing dangerous, Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd, 2019; Remembering/ Disease, Broken Sleep Books) and a pamphlet (A Stolen Hour, Grey Hen Press, 2020). Fokkina received a Northern Writers’ Award from New Writing North in 2020. Fokkina has a special interest in haiku and tanka, and contributes reviews to Presence magazine. She blogs weekly on www.acaciapublications.co.uk where she features a guest poet each month.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Fokkina McDonnell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Gevers Deynootweg 116, Scheveningen, the Netherlands
The first were placed illegally
in Berlin and Köln
Berlin 27 October 1947
A person is only forgotten
This is my regular route to the tram stop
at the Kurhaus Hotel
often at a slow trot
today I crawl (done my back in)
grateful the chiropractor will see me
10 by 10 cm
stone with brass plaque
when their name has been forgotten
I almost stumble over the Stolpersteine
Berlin 6 March 1920
28 May 1943 (23)
Rotterdam 6 August 1918
Sobibor 28 May 1943 (24)
We’re minutes away from the beach the boulevard salty tang of the North Sea
Note: Over 90,000 Stolpersteine have now been placed in 26 European countries.
Gerald George has published three books of poetry: Figments, Imitations of Indonesia, and A Penitential Prayer. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications, including Spillway, the Spoon River Poetry Review, and Visions international, and in anthologies such as the Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku, Take Heart: Poems from Maine, and A Rump-Sprung Chair and a One-Eyed Cat. He has served on the editorial board of the literary journal Off the Coast, and he formerly coordinated the annual Roque Bluffs Poetry Festival. He lives in Belfast, Maine.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Gerald George and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
In Place of Explanation
There, far off to the right, the trains came in.
There, the platform where the slats came off the doors
of the cattle cars, stampedes began.
People stumbled out through a jumble of dead.
Uniformed guards whipped along the living,
assembled them over the way at the sorting place,
chose those who could work, then pushed the rest like beasts,
shot the stragglers. There where the trees are now
—you can scarcely see—down into a kind of funnel,
leading through two doors to the gas chambers.
Farther along that way gaped the waiting ovens.
After an interval of time, slave laborers
threw in the bodies that had just been gassed
until black smoke terrified the sky.
Well, you get the idea, that’s the gist.
Every place he pointed there now appears
nothing but green peace, gentle vegetation,
swaying in the straying winds of the amiable afternoon.
Leafy trees, bright bushes, lush grass, soft ground,
bereft of buildings, ovens, gas traps, stations, trains,
guns, clubs, and so many screaming people.
Why try to bring it up again?
Because it was.
Otherwise we might give in
to the power to paint bright pigments over horror
or look away as nature conspires to hide.
Even the reach for reasons leads
into the pit of unreason in which
millions of voices beg for a way to explain
In place of explanation I offer
this penitential prayer for the living,
this lamentation for the dead.
Previously published in Gerald George, A Penitential Prayer: Poems on the Holocaust (Goose River Press, 2022).
Germain Droogenbroodt, Belgian poet living in Altea, Spain, received many international awards and is yearly invited at the most prestigious international poetry festivals, recommended in 2017 for the Nobel Prize of Literature. He wrote 16 poetry books, published in 31 countries. Visit on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Germain Droogenbroodt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Death, we drink you,
we drink you with our eyes,
we drink you with our ears
we drink you day by day
no time is left to say good bye,
no time to dig your graves
The leaders paved the road
with hypocrisy and dazzling lies
Death, we drink you,
we drink you with our eyes,
we drink you with our ears
we drink you day by day.
*Todesfuge (Fugue of death),
poem by Paul Celan about the Jews being cremated by the Nazis
Helen Bar-Lev has lived in Israel for 50 years, now in Metulla, has had over 100 exhibitions of her landscape paintings, 34 of which were one-woman shows. Eight poetry collections, all illustrated by Helen. She is the Amy Kitchener senior poet laureate and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2013. Helen is the recipient of the Homer European Medal for Poetry and Art. She is the winner of the Colori dell’Anima” Award 10th Edition for her poetic collection (Sanremo, Italy). She also has been: Assistant President of Voices Israel, Chief Editor of Voices Annual Anthology, and Overseas Connections Coordinator.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Helen Bar-Lev and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
eighty years have passed
the blood has dried
attacks still terrorize
we shall survive
73-year-old South Carolina Private Eye. Writer: Muslim Journal, Hasidic Magazine Concord, “Angels on the Bridge” book. Howard has conducted investigations reported on by Geraldo Rivera, Bill O’Reilly, The New York Times, London Sunday Mail, Toronto Globe, the Washington Post, Newsday, Pittsburgh Tribune, Miami Herald, Buffalo News, and other media outlets. He investigated Vince Foster’s Suicide with NY Post reporter Ruddy ( NewsMax). Comen and Professors Broccoli and Kruse solved the mystery of the Great Gatsby. Director of The Global Partnership for the Advancement of Racial and Social Harmony trying to bring equity in Mental Health and Education across the country. Visit on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Howie Comen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
My family came from Ukraine
Escaping Russia’s disdain
I saw your Highway Post
And saw my family’s Ghost
Escaping hatred and death
Lucky to immigrate west
as the melting pot grew
America came into view
But as in selfish Cain
Selfish jealousy raged
But in the land of the free
It came with a fee unpaid
We, Jews, were Egyptian slaves
Later expelled by Spain
We became wondering Jews
Suffering hate and abuse
The Nazis blamed the war
Making scapegoats of us all
And oiled their war machine
With our blood and the obscene
After the Nazis were dead
Hatred still was fed
as countless genocides
and Powerplays decide
So we beat on boats against the current
fighting against the turret
of hate, power, or caste
borne back ceaselessly into the past
Howie Good’s newest poetry collection, Heart-Shape Hole, which also includes examples of his handmade collages, is available from Laughing Ronin Press.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Howie Good and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Death to the Toad King
The Talmud asks, “Can you get a rash from acting rashly?” An intelligent response requires having a knotty, twisty brain. In the pages of this month’s Haddasah Magazine, Auschwitz survivors share treasured recipes – kitchen smells grisly mingling with human smoke. I have a memory from Jewish sleepaway camp, how in the grass behind our bunk, with the hectoring buzz of insects loud in our ears, we caught frogs and toads and condemned them to death. No interfering adults ever went back there, just us, a bunch of 11-year-old boys simmering in the summer heat, Cub Scout pocket knives clutched in our sweaty hands.
I.B. Rad, formerly of New York City, now lives and writes in Dallas Texas. Much of his recent work is available on the internet. He uses a variety of styles depending on subject matter and desired effect. Coming from a civic background, he particularly values clarity of expression.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by I.B. Rad and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
In Amen’s black and white woodcut,
a wide eyed, open mouthed couple
cling to one another,
she glancing backward,
he peering ahead.
Rendered in early 20th century
wavy, acutely angled lines
form a backdrop
yet also seeming to thrust the pair forward.
Underneath the duo
curved lines impel a downward trajectory
while. on the couple’s right,
complete their set’s framing.
Bearded, he’s donned a wide brimmed black hat,
trousers, and dark overcoat;
whereas, clothed in long skirt and coat,
a kerchief covers her hair;
in short, it appears likely
they’re from a shtetl,
and, as bare feet testify,
expeditiously skipped town
to dodge a pogrom,
their retribution for being Jews.
Perhaps, it might aid some readers understanding
to the couples right,
having just been struck by lightening,
a bush burns bright
and that this woodcut
was completed in 1948,
the year Israel’s statehood was declared,
implying “Flight’s” meant to convey:
shepherded by Yahweh
from outmoded Europe,
with it’s merciless pogroms
cresting in an industrial-scale “Holocaust,”
to that sacred sanctuary,
the “promised land.”
*Irving Amen (1918 – 2011) is an American artist who worked with a variety of printing
techniques and styles as well as with painting, sculpting, and stained glasswork. His art is widely collected and is owned by major museums. “Flight” (which you can see here.) was first printed in 1948 and later reissued in 1975. It can be found on the internet by googling “Irving Amen” and “Flight.” “Flight” was first published by the Canadian e-zine, “Fleas on the Dog.”
J. Barrett Wolf
J. Barrett Wolf was published in Black Bear Review, Portland Review of the Arts, Long Island Sounds, Rubber Side Down, PPA Literary Review, Writing Outside the Lines, Passing, and was featured on the Connecticut Touring Poetry Roster. His first volume, “Stark Raving Calm,” was published by Boone’s Dock Press. He lives in Binghamton, NY, where he is the Poet in Residence at the Bundy Museum of History and Art and Director of WordPlace – The Southern Tier Literary Center. He holds the Bronze Medal of Valor from the San Francisco Police Department and five regional team championship trophies for pool. Visit J. Barrett Wolf on Facebook here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by J. Barrett Wolf and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Name Should Only Be Spoken At Night
For Auschwitz survivor Yehudit Braun
I will speak to no one
of the cold stethoscope,
the mallet’s tap, tap, tap,
the hypodermic needle
full of… questions.
Can blue dye cure brown eyes?
What if we cut here?
Burn the skin.
His voice like a bone saw:
It doesn’t matter,
she only has two weeks to live.
Oh, but I did live,
and will speak to no one.
Silence is my husband,
No words will ever
make me that afraid again.
Not even my own.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Jan Chronister and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Diamonds are Forever
When the Nazis came
Mama sewed three diamonds
into Sara’s coat.
When she stripped at Birkenau,
Sara put them in her mouth.
When she saw SS guards searching cavities,
she swallowed them.
Sara shat the diamonds,
washed them in a muddy puddle
and swallowed them again
When they shaved Sara’s head
her hair was sent to stuff pillows of Germans
serving on submarines.
Now she strokes her grandchild’s hair
long and black and thick,
wears the stones on her finger
where she can feel them burn.
(first appeared in Casualties)
Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces in and around Philadelphia. She is the 2022 Montgomery County (PA) Poet Laureate. Her most recent collection, 14 (Plus) Reasons Why (Free Lines Press) is now available.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Jen Schneider and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Hidden in Documentation
/ I Wonder
the Auschwitz concentration camp
perimeter, scars proliferate
and punctuate the air
Ghosts in all corners
Hope stomped in soil
Gas continues to seep
Amidst tangled ropes
and tired tropes
waltzes and wonders
understand the fear
contemplate the divine
continue to weep
Do black crows
Do fallen frames
ever outrun time
a question more
important than why
a mission more critical
Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. She performs tales of food, family, strong women. Internationally published as an essayist, poet, short story writer, and novelist, she’s a 2021 and 2022 Pushcart nominee, Best of the Net 2022 nominee, and 2022 runner-up in Robert Frost Competition. Her essays, poems, and fiction appear in Ekphrastic Review, Verse Visual, Verse Virtual, anti-heroin chic, Gargoyle, Active Muse, Silver Birch, Yellow Mama, Mystery Tribune, Ovunquesiamo, MacQueen’s Quinterly and others. Her chapbooks are Languid Lusciousness with Lemon and Feathers on Stone.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Joan Leotta and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Small Brass Plates
Brass markers on Rome’s sampietrini
mark the places where blood
flowed between each stone in the 1940s.
Jewish blood, partisan blood, dissenters.
When my foot touched the polished
surface, their pain echoed up
from my toes to my head.
My eyes spilled tears that
then mingle with the blood,
no rain, no tears can erase from history
Jonathan Aylett is a poet and spoken word artist based in Liverpool, England
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Jonathan Aylett and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
along the railway siding
Joseph Caperna is a a physician in San Diego, CA who has spent his career dedicated to HIV. To bring compassion and caring, and listening into his medical practice, he uses poetry with his patients and their families. He has traveled over 60 years to 6 continents. These experiences inspire prose and poetry that he is starting to submit for publication. Visit Joseph on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Joseph Caperna and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
death, castration or sex slave
The Great War ended–Paragraph 175 survived on
Walking my path
Entering the remembrance room
Walking in, I’m warmed,
and chilled by upright images
Photos black and white
Triangles and stars…
Upside down, I see
a rainbow of triangles,
Red black rose and
I hear stories, plays, books, poems—that unveil horrors left behind
My pre-birth one with theirs.
They came for the Jews so much, and prisoners of conscious, the work-dodgers, emigrants, and the homosexuals
I see today the signs
My people again, attacked, chills me—
Remembrance warms me. My voice speaks up. I stand with you.
Fill yourself, remembrance, a poem, a book,
One path with the past. My people, LGBT.
Silence is death.
I am 59 years of age, a born and bred Londoner. I am married with a son of 19 and a daughter of 15. We currently live in a village in West Yorkshire. A teaching assistant by training and of long experience, my poetry began as a vehicle to help the children with whom I work, to understand phonics. My favourite poet is John Betjeman and an expanding list of so many others that I’ve given up listing them. However, my poetic style is my own.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Joy Lebof and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Never again, so we say,
yet baseless hatred
blinds against truth,
the bloody dagger,
and does not die easily.
Like a runaway train
it mowed down all in its path,
against the merciless violence
of iron cold impact,
the nightmares it spawned,
terror filled darkness,
that Hate’s mindless adherents
with word and action, created,
the bitter-almond odour,
the reek of cindered flesh,
lifeless, bone-thin bodies.
fanned hatred’s flames,
fuelled depraved action.
sealed the fate of millions,
their survival, no priority.
When finally defeated,
Nazi demise was brought
by Justice’s hand, death.
Without examination, education,
the change of hearts and minds
to abolish hate
those crimes of yesterday
will reoccur again, today.
Judith R. Robinson
Judith R. Robinson is an editor, teacher, fiction writer, poet and visual artist. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, she is listed in the Directory of American Poets and Writers. She has published 100+ poems, five poetry collections, one fiction collection; one novel; edited or co-edited eleven poetry collections. Teacher: Osher at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Her newest poetry collection is Buy A Ticket, WordTech Editions, due April 1, 2022 Holocaust Exhibit was “The Numbers Keep Changing,” at The Pittsburgh Holocaust Center, April -June, 2019. Visit on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Judith R. Robinson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Shock That Went Away
Once there was a shock
so fierce it forced shame
on all who owned it.
It was foul—a dark, filthy rag
they could not lose.
Because there are no words,
There can be no poems,
the people said.
So they hid the ugly shock
deep within busy, useful shadows
that winged beast,
came flying in and out.
Time found the hidden shock
& pecked & pecked
until it broke down into
smaller & smaller shabby scraps
they could not be rid of by tossing
in the air or spreading around.
So the people grew old & sick
the shock piled up in books and papers
until shreds of it were buried with them.
And then, one after another,
bearing torches and ashes,
the deniers came.
Previously published in The Blue Heart, Finishing Line Press, 2013
Judith van Dijkhuizen
Judith lives in Cheltenham, UK. She heard stories about WWII from her mother, who was in the Dutch Resistance and took Jewish children to safe houses, rooted out collaborators, and carried secret documents in her shoes. Judith loves writing and reading poetry, and has published in magazines and anthologies.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Judith van Dijkhuizen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
In honour of the girls and women who risked their lives in the Dutch Resistance WWII
He sees my thick honey-blonde plaits,
the blue dress with the white lace collar.
He leans on the bar,
slaps another soldier as he laughs.
I touch his arm.
—It’s nicer in the woods.
The path is overgrown, silent.
The pines are taller than our house.
I whip out the gun, shoot.
My arm flies up, I stagger back.
I know the drill.
Gun. Papers. Run.
At home, I polish his gun,
feel how cold and smooth it is.
Judy England-McCarthy is both an author and professional storyteller. Her creative intention is to entertain and transform people through her stories, poems, and workshops. Judy’s professional career as a storyteller commenced in 2009 and as an author in 2013. One of her poems was presented in video format for “The Just Listening Project” and another poem won 1st place at Fanstory.com. Her children’s book “Amazing Petunia’s Adventures” was made by her into an animation and selected for this year’s Atlanta Children’s Film Festival. Judy resides in Linden NJ. To find out more check out her website: Beginwithastory.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Judy England-McCarthy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Those Who Survived
A Moment in History
Sitting in my 10th grade darkened school room
Reviewing World history
As a screen flashes images
A bulldozer pushing piles
Of emaciated dead bodies
Into an Olympic pool sized pit.
How can we call ourselves human, with such inhumanity?
Almost a half century later
The images still clear
Of lives eradicated.
Judy Lorenzen is a poet, writer and an English teacher, who, after visiting Yad Vashem in the ’90s was never the same. Visit her on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Judy Lorenzen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
After Reading Cotler’s 2017 “Elie Wiesel: Conscience of Humanity” Speech
Cold blooded murder and culture did not exclude each other. If the Holocaust proved anything, it is that a person could love poems and kill children, Elie Wiesel.
Under two German laws,
Nazis committed mass murder,
aided and abetted by the Nuremberg elites,
the educated–doctors, lawyers, judges,
educators, engineers, architects, lovers
of the intellect, science, law and literature—
and they would have called themselves good people.
Their laws, immoral—
the murderers—never planning
that history would record them as they were—
they were obeying their good laws,
which were to kill children,
old men and women, the helpless.
The inhumane laws allowed
the loading of beautiful children
with the eyes of God,
filled with tears,
into cattle cars,
destined for the fiery flames
of the crematoriums.
Outside Yad Vashem,
the last cattle car sits high on display.
By it, the Hebrew poem
Psalm 137, “By the rivers of Bablyon
we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. . .,”
and how could they sing?
Around 2,600 years after that exile and poem,
we are still weeping and writing poems,
what man can do to his brother,
what Japheth’s descendants
could do to Shem’s.
Karen Keefe (she, her) was one of the editors of The Parlor City Review. Her work is published Anima, Anti-Heroin Chic, Silver Birch Press, unstamatic, Poetry as Promised, and POETiCA Review. She lives in Vestal, NY. She can be found on Instagram @dragonkkg, and on Twitter @karen_keef.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Karen Keefe and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
In the Town of Dachau
the bricklayers are busy.
The craftsmen among them
The materials sent them
are of low quality
and they are given little time
to complete the job.
“Don’t worry,” the mayor tells them
when they complain,
“You aren’t building a church
No it is not a church they build.
The factory owner’s maids
polish the silver and
iron the linen
for the parties
that announce the arrival
of new officials, benefactors of the people.
What is it they do all day
behind those walls?
The time of year
With every breath taken
new life delivered by the earth
is known as a presence.
This year is different.
Another presence is in the air.
A new odor hangs like a cloud
over the town and covers it
like a blanket
during the night.
When all the men
return home from their day’s work
old women notice it most.
Their noses wrinkle
it sticks in their throat
tickles their ribs.
They cough until
Who asks questions anymore?
On Saturday afternoons
the guards of the camp
party and flirt
in the taverns.
The boys of the town
guard the walls their fathers built.
Their younger brothers and sisters follow them.
One would think
they’d gone to the zoo
the way they stand at the fences, laugh
What was the question?
It is never the brave who resist,
because they think they can conquer.
It is never the powerful
because they think they will be listened to.
It is never the rich
because they have the money
to buy their freedom and life.
It is only the poor
the living dead
because they know they have nothing to lose.
There is no question?
Behind the brick walls
children not allowed a soul
dream of what happened to Jericho. But who
will blow the trumpets
and march for seven days around these walls?
A non-binary poet, Karen Poppy’s debut full-length poetry collection, Diving at the Lip of the Water, is forthcoming in May 2023 with Beltway Editions. Her chapbooks Crack Open / Emergency (2020) and Our Own Beautiful Brutality (2021) are both published by Finishing Line Press. Her chapbook, Every Possible Thing, is published by Homestead Lighthouse Press (2020). An attorney licensed in California and Texas, Karen Poppy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit Karen on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Karen Poppy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Walt Whitman Celebrates Himself
for my late grandmother, Myrna Sisson Kopp
(Portions in italics quote Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.)
On my grandmother’s door,
Walt Whitman knocks like Elijah.
On other doors, Gestapo
Kick their boot-soles.
No help from God.
Seasons pursue each other,
Allies and Axis Powers at war.
When she debuted the year before,
Fabric and sugar scarce, she longed
To be older, wiser, more knowing:
A Walt Whitman, meandering
Through that great consciousness.
Poet of body and soul.
Large, yet modest in her existence.
A song to herself,
Silver brush and vanity mirror, hair
Brushed to a shine, like satin.
Bombs dropped like limitless leaves in the fields.
Wars come and go, so who’s there?
Me myself, singing of equalities—
Clear and sweet—
Not yet of death,
That great equalizer.
My grandmother examines
Her Jewish nose
In the mirror.
Walt Whitman’s poem starts
With his name, titled all in caps.
He smokes and belches his words,
But we love him. He is a man.
Red-blooded American—no matter
That he’s gay. He’s shamed
By the mare. Babies just pop out—
Exclamations taken suddenly.
Soon, he’s everything and everywhere.
To look beyond your nose is dangerous.
The Holocaust is great, larger than us.
Bodies drop like mossy scabs
Of the worm fence, heaped stones,
Elder mullein and poke-weed.
A child said, “What is the grass?”
Fetching it to me with full hands.
A child said, “The last, the very last…
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live here in the ghetto.”
How could I answer the child?
I do not know any more than he.
How could I?
How could she?
My grandmother was 17.
We can beat and pound for the dead,
But their lives are lost, an ocean
Dried by great fire.
We do not contain enough multitudes
To contradict their deaths.
We do not contain enough music or poetry
To honor them justly.
Then death stops somewhere, like it did
For my grandmother,
Waiting for you.
Waiting for me.
In my grandmother’s copy
Of Leaves of Grass, inscribed
On January 1, 1945
In careful cursive,
and with her girlhood name,
[Previously published in The American Journal of Poetry, and forthcoming in my poetry collection Diving At The Lip Of The Water (Beltway Editions, May 2023)
Karen Webber is a performance/teaching and liturgical artist from Baltimore MD, who crafts music/theatre pieces for colleges classrooms, senior centers and the bimah. A two time grant recipient from the Maryland State Arts Council, she turned a short film about an 80 year old artist with dementia into a virtual program and will apprentice herself to a master teacher of Yiddish folk song. Karen Webber’s writing is found in RitualWell, Poetica, Abandon and The Torrid Literature Journal’s, Lilith Magazine (among others). She is especially proud to be included in Prophetic Voices: a new Haftarah commentary published by CCAR Press.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Karen Webber and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
You are wheeled
into a German
at 99, because when you
stand too long, your feet swell.
So you sit, accused.
a concave chest,
face hidden by
blue file folder,
only arthritic fingers
Just a taut body in
pacing the platform
as it swelled
valises in hand,
You marched most straight
to the gas chamber.
Others you left in the cold to freeze.
Just a tan body,
shirtless on the chisel
plow in unforgiving sun
on the family farm.
How could you be two places at one time?
18 year old reluctant soldier,
A lone tear travels down your creased cheek,
yet, a lifetime later, you plead not guilty.
Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca
In a career spanning over four decades, Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca has taught English in Indian colleges, AP English in an International School in India, and French and Spanish in private schools in Canada. Her poems are featured in various journals and anthologies, including the Journal Of Indian Literature published by the Sahitya Akademi and the Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English. Kavita has authored two collections of poetry, ‘Family Sunday and Other Poems’ and ‘Light of The Sabbath.’ Her poem ‘How To Light Up a Poem,’ was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2020. She lives in Calgary, Canada. Visit her on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
A Home with Dignity
(A poem about belonging)
I want six million Jews back to their homes
To their hat shops, their loved ones, and their bright mornings,
To awake in their beds with soft sheets and warm slippers
To put their feet into, and cross the threshold to kitchens
Smelling warm with the baking of *Challah bread.
I want sisters to whisper to each other from bunk beds
Scurrying up and down the ladder to exchange places
Laughing without fear of being muffled,
Like we did many nights with sleeping parents who
Unaware of our sibling shenanigans, dreamed in peace.
I want six million Jews to watch the butterflies
Flitting across a kind sun that warmed their hearts
With promises of hope, of births, graduations, weddings
Dressed in satin gowns with silver stars, the yellow ones
Out of stock, discontinued, banned forever.
I want six million Jews to look out at the fields with cattle grazing
From train windows, with the fresh air blowing on their faces
Going on a family holiday to the beach with free minds
Surfing the waves, swimming with the dolphins,
Returning to their homes to wash off the sand from their happy feet.
* Challah is a special bread in Jewish cuisine, usually braided and typically eaten on ceremonial occasions such as Shabbat and major Jewish holidays. Ritually-acceptable challah is made of dough from which a small portion has been set aside as an offering. The word is Biblical in origin. (Source: Wikipedia)
Laurie Kuntz published poetry collections (The Moon Over My Mother’s House, Finishing Line Press and Somewhere in the Telling, Mellen Press), three chapbooks (Talking Me Off The Roof, Kelsay Books, Simple Gestures, Texas Review Press and Women at the Onsen, Blue Light Press). She has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and one Best of the Net. She won the Blue Light Chapbook prize and Texas Review Chapbook Prize. Currently residing in Florida, every day offers an opportunity for a much needed political poem. Otherwise, happily retired, she lives in an endless summer state of mind. Visit her at: https://lauriekuntz.myportfolio.com/home-1
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Laurie Kuntz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Miklos Radnoti, the Hungarian poet,
was shot in the head by German guards on a forced march
from Yugoslavia to Hungary during the last days of WWII.
In a mass grave, two years later, Radnoti’s body was discovered
and exhumed. His last poems, written on postcards,
were found in his coat pocket.
Radnoti, a twin, rescued at birth, lived in halves,
thinking of the mother and brother who didn’t survive,
and how from the wondrous womb,
he hurled into a world where fathers, too, leave,
a year before a boy becomes a man.
Left with whole lives gone,
Radnoti suffered the copper mines,
labor camps and death marches,
nothing spared, but his words–
Poems written to his wife,
on bits of paper, backs of postcards,
cured from ground to seed against time
and the hands of men raking lands irreverent–
All unearthed, as Radnoti wrote,
“Patience flowers into death now.”
Delphiniums grow from the dirt,
the discarded mass, the rancid heap
where Radnoti’s body rotted,
bone on pebble, ink on gravel,
all that is rescued from soil to flower.
Linda M. Crate
Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. She is the author of twelve poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: searching stained glass windows for an answer (Alien Buddha Publishing, December 2022). She has also authored four micro-collections, two novellas, and four full length poetry collections. Her latest publication is a photography collection titled Songs of the Creek (Alien Buddha Press, April 2023).
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Linda M. Crate and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
stop banning books
i saw a friend post that in florida
they are banning anne frank’s diary
from being read because of the
and all i can think of is how people
who don’t know history are doomed
to repeat it;
are maus and night going to be next?
people need to know just how terrible the
holocaust was in a world where people
try to deny it happened despite all the survivors,
and the testimony of those who went through it;
the trauma that Jewish people still face today
simply isn’t okay—
no one should be killed because of their
ethnicity or the religion,
no one should be hated simply for being different;
and yet they’re going to ban books showing
us the lives of those who were forever changed
by the terror that was the holocaust because
they don’t want people who think, they’re not protecting
children; they’re trying to eliminate their knowledge
so they won’t speak out should a holocaust happen here.
Lindsay Soberano Wilson
Lindsay Soberano-Wilson’s debut full-length poetry collection, Hoods of Motherhood (Prolific Pulse Press) is forthcoming in May 2023. Her hybrid poetry chapbook, Casa de mi Corazón: A Travel Journal of Poetry and Memoir, explores how her sense of community, Jewish Canadian identity, and home was shaped by travel. Her poems have appeared in Fine Lines Literary Journal, Embrace of Dawn, Poetry 365, Fevers of the Mind, PoetryPause, Quills Erotic Canadian Poetry Magazine, Canadian Woman Studies Journal, Running with Scissors, Fresh Voices and Poetica Magazine. Find her on Medium, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok at Poetry Matters. Visit her on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Lindsay Soberano Wilson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Streets of Munich
I could spit on this soil and love it…spit on every street corner
and every brick that ever oppressed Jews with hatred
I could stand center stage in the middle of Marienplatz and scream
with God’s deserted children…here in the streets of Munich
I want to paint blue Stars of David on all of their faces and
dance, a naked dance, of anguish and freedom
I could shout Heil Hitler just for the response
something, anything to shake them up and let them know
that I know and I will never forget
I could rip that Nazis Raus graffiti I saw across the street from
I could shake every last living — I see them…
…all of the Lady Macbeth’s walking the streets of Munich
with red-stained palms: peeling, rubbing, washing, covering, scratching, burning…
I could ask questions to the strangers who look guilt-ridden enough:
Who are you? Where were you? What do you remember?
Tell me your goddamn story! I’m listening…
…I hope you know we all carry gravestones — grave — stones —
in our hearts, and they…they weigh us down…they weighed us down…
down into the barracks…down into the gas…six feet under…six million later — and still…still we are a light unto the nations — and still…still, I think I found something here…here in the streets of Munich
something that looks like…Forgiveness.
Previously published in Casa de mi Corazon: A Travel Journal of Poetry and Memoir (Poetica Publishing); Originally published in Mizmor L’David Anthology by Poetica Publishing.
Lou Ella Hickman
Sister Lou Ella Hickman, I.W.B.S. (Corpus Christi, Texas) is a former teacher and librarian whose writings has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies; Press 53 published her first book of poetry in 2015 entitled she: robed and wordless. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2017 and in 2020. On May 11, 2021, five poems from her book which had been set to music by James Lee III were performed by the opera star Susanna Phillips, star clarinetist Anthony McGill, pianist Mayra Huang at Y92 in New York City. The group of songs is entitled “Chavah’s Daughters Speak.”
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Lou Ella Hickman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
anniversary poem for mildred fish-harnack
you joined a group
the gestapo nicknamed red orchestra . . .
yesterday was your anniversary
when the sharp sure blade dropped
ending your life as a spy
a woman a civilian the only american
hitler ordered to die
they did not believe
the news you smuggled out
and then you died along with the others
today the 17th
i write your memory:
red orchestra music
how could it not be a blessing
Mildred joined a Berlin anti-fascist group called the Red Orchestra. Its aim was espionage as well as helping Jews escape. She was originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was beheaded on February 16, 1943.
Since starting writing poetry ‘with intent’ in 2020, Louise Longson has been widely published both in print and online. She is the author of the chapbooks Hanging Fire (Dreich Publications, 2021) and Songs from the Witch Bottle (Alien Buddha Press, 2022). She works from her home in a small rural village on the fringes of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire offering a listening service to people whose physical and emotional distress is caused by loneliness and historic trauma. Her poems are inspired by bringing together her personal and work experiences, often seen through the twin prisms of myth and nature. Visit her on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Louise Longson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
When the leaves fall in autumn,
the mist gathers like a memory
of smoke. In the afternoon
when darkness begins to fall
they light candles along the railway.
The past echoes still; shouts
of men, tears of women, cries
of children wrapped up forever
in the final embrace of this homeland,
this daily bearing of witness.
And after the visitors have gone,
Nothing lives. The silence is total.
Nothing grows, nothing moves
or breaks in the pitiless ghost
-grey light. And no birds sing.
Mandy Beattie is from Wick, Caithness, Scotland. She’s been published in, Poets Republic, Drawn to The Light, Lothlorien, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Dreich, WordPeace, Visual Verse, Wildfire Words, Spilling Cocoa, Last Stanza, The Haar, Purple Hermit, Crowstep, Spoonie, The Pen Points North, Advent with Annick, Full House Literary & more. Short story in Howl New Irish Writing. Features in forthcoming, Big Girl’s Village Lockdown Showcase, House of Commons & George Gunn’s Film, Words in The Wind. Poets Choice, Marble Poetry. Shortlisted, Black Box Competition & 10th International Five Words Competition. Forthcoming publications in, Abridged, & Five Words Volume XVI Anthology.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Mandy Beattie and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Bergen-Belsen — Nameless-Numbers
there were no birds, no bees, no buttercups
under our childish chins, only slapping-silence
being frog-marched into a black and white photo-booth
my gaze skittering around, across bones —
String-puppets under skin-canvas
unmarked grave-mounds — Wombs of left-overs
Air thick with yew-worms, as blank eyes tracked from lime periscopes
the starched-grey couple holding out a camera
fingers air-cycling un-marked grave-mounds — Wombs of left-overs
the starched-grey couple’s multiple-choice of nameless-numbers
Their yoke of lilies laid at rest on any soil-sea-grave
those thumbprints of the dead as tattoos
of more nameless-numbers in Palestine
Margaret Beston is widely published in magazines and anthologies and the author of two collections, Long Reach River 2014, Timepiece 2019 and a pamphlet When the Ground Crashed Upwards in 2020. She is the founder of Roundel, a Poetry Society Stanza based in Tonbridge, Kent, UK, where she lives. Visit her on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Margaret Beston and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Outside the Ecole des Hospitalières St Gervais, Paris, a plaque
commemorates 165 Jewish children deported in 1942.
He takes his slab of quarried stone
measures it, cuts to size,
etches the inscription.
No space for names,
just the numbers: one-six-five.
Crystal fragments spill like tears
around his bench, as tungsten
chips the keening marble,
stuttering hammer-head on steel
echoes through the silence
forcing truth from its rocky bed,
ash-white dust clings to his fingers
as he sands and buffs the fine Carrara
smooth as a lip’s caress on infant skin.
Mark Saba has been writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction for 40 years. His most recent book publication is Flowers in the Dark (poetry). Other works include Calling the Names (poetry), Two Novellas: A Luke of All Ages / Fire and Ice, and Ghost Tracks: Stories of Pittsburgh Past. His work has appeared widely in literary magazines around the U.S. and abroad. He is also a painter, and recently retired from Yale University as a medical illustrator and graphic designer. Please see marksabawriter.com.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Mark Saba and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
I won’t pretend that fear
or compassion run so deep in me
that I could be the judge
of all that happened here.
I’ve seen too many films,
heard too many stories
that had me off-balance at night.
They’ve paved a monument
into a far corner at Birkenau:
fifteen languages scalded into stone,
figures trembling out of sculpture
but never reaching their bounds.
It’s not easy to get there
down the unpaved weedway, especially
by summer air, the heat of day.
I stepped back, read as I had been
obliged, scanned the earthen rubble
of unearthly crematoria, then
walked back to the empty barracks—
oversized grasses sporting bitter flowers—
to let the scene sink into me.
It was the present, the evil symmetry,
still more chimneys uselessly left
aloft, that had the final word.
I had been transported from one present
to another, one without another hand
to make less of unspent perfection.
For that was our legacy.
And I, no less than the rest,
became one of those deathless, even rows
against the uneven white dance of butterflies.
Martha Jackson Kaplan is the recipient of the Zylpha Mapp Robinson International Poetry Award, an editor-in-chief award from Möbius, The Poetry Magazine, awards from the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, and has been nominated for a Pushcart. Recently published in The Night Heron Barks, Nixes Mate Review, Unlikely Stories, Mark V, and forthcoming in Blue Heron Review. Visit Martha on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Martha Kaplan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Kaddesh In Bones: Yahad In Unum
for Fr. Patrick Desbois
IT IS TRUE WHAT THE PRIEST DISCOVERED. I have heard others tell of it. The bones of Jews have been ground into the road to the green cemetery tended for the SS graves. They fill holes in the airplane tarmac. They lie enclosed in a cellar, never opened. Some scream at the priest to stay away from their tomato patches. The modern house at the end of the dismal village belongs to the man who offered succor to fleeing Jews, only to smother them in the night for the gold in their teeth. 20,000 were shot or bludgeoned in view of the schoolhouse. Children were requisitioned to walk the planks to flatten the people thrown into the pits alive, covered in lye or sand, so the next layer would be smooth. The pits breathed for three days. Silence surrounds it. Forests have grown up. Cows are grazed over them. People keep chickens there. Geologists will find a layer of bones under the soil. Everywhere. Ukraine. Lithuania. Serial killers are not ashamed. Terror is the first weapon. Predators use the news to paralyze their victims. Strategies are devised to destroy compassion. This is the other weapon. The priest is trying to teach us what he learned. It is about impunity. He is trying to warn us. It is still happening. We would rather sleep at night.
Published: Unlikely Stories, Mark V, 20th Anniversary Issue, 2018.
Mary Langer Thompson
Mary Langer Thompson of Apple Valley, California, is a retired high school English teacher and public school principal. She has found that the teaching and reading of poetry leads to the writing of poetry and has been published in numerous journals, most recently in Quill and Parchment where she is the April 2023 featured poet. She was the 2012 Senior Poet of California and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Mary Langer Thompson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
How I Choose to Remember You
For Dorothea Alma Elsa Vanicek Apfel
Walking out of the camps
wearing a fur coat—yes, real animal fur—
looking regal and deserving of grace
while Quartet for the End of Time plays on.
Searching for your husband
looking for you while you pass each other
sans stars, unaware, on buses and trains
traveling through bombed Leipzig streets.
Finding each other on an ordinary day
after you thought all was lost
including faith and hope and love
and realizing what they can never kill.
Mary Mayer Shapiro is the pen name of an 80 year old woman based in Rochester, NY who wrote this poem for her family. She has also been published in the Spectrum Anthologies and Four feathers press. She would rather not have her real name revealed.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Mary Shapiro and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
History repeats itself in may ways
Power controls the masses
Fear, go along, be quiet
Will we ever learn
Leah Druskin Micner
My great aunt
with her two children
Bernard and Claude
Traveled on a train
In a cattle car
Entered a camp called Auschwitz
They were the lucky ones
They were immediately sent
To the gas chambers on arrival
They were not starved to death
Eating 300 calories a day
Tortured, beaten, tattooed
Leah was not sterilized
They were not experimented on
Infected for vaccination research
Exposed to toxic substances
Injected with tuberculosis bacilli
They did not die
From hypothermia, exhaustion
They were just Jews
Wearing a yellow star
Self-described as the ‘poet of the blasphemous,’ Matthew Laramore utilizes symbolism of the written word to interpret the senses of his subjects with provocative yet also beautifully chilling expression. Whilst many remember the lives lost from the enabled evil of the Nazi regime, Laramore focuses more on a single act of bravery that has stood the test of time from an unknown Holocaust prisoner. Laramore is 36 years of age and resides in Washington, Missouri with his daughter. When not protesting religious political tyrants in his work, he also writes of nature, the cosmos, and human emotions.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Matthew Laramore and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
To Prisoner X
Upon the Mauthausen cell walls did ye write,
‘If a god there is, shall then he beg for the light
Of my forgiveness!’ But there is an everlasting shade
That has wrought the modern age to barricade
The unshown light from ye, that were not already
Provided prior by the depressed sun’s day.
Across six million candles that long since burned
Has no deity stood such a test to be turned
To sing aloud the grief of your fellow captives.
Under a century since and foreign lands retract this
Seclusion of Christian supplied genocide;
Those speakers of evil could only set aside
Their proclaimed passion in these nastiest of acts,
As today their American variants deny such facts
Whilst the god they shared with ye
Enchain its tongue from your fading memory.
Yet, your words engraved upon its supposed creation
Has voiced more compassion than Hitler’s imitation
Of Hope. There is reason, if ever shall I grant it,
For such a silence from a deity I do not admit
To be—could it be reciting six million names,
So as to not cut ye short of its treacherous games?
And does it give these six million persons
An isolated eulogy, each with differing sermons?
I elect to assume it not so, for then eternity
Has been spent on them, as the rest of us in absurdity
Suffer at the hands of its other loudspeakers,
Who lay claim to be heaven’s appointed housekeepers.
O, how unclean it must always be indeed!
For their bloodstained aprons cannot recede
The memories they traced upon the flesh they pierce.
With their iron barrels that blast away like fierce
Snakes that spat their venom upon their face,
They screech the fury of blindfolded grace.
The howler of pride defaced the value in his people
And given resource from the Catholic steeple
To paint your blood into the German rivers,
Until last the oxygen is drained from your livers.
A form of sacrilege it has been portrayed to be
To criticize this indelicate moment of history
With just the mention of its entire being.
‘Tis as if its return has called out for new eyes seeing
Its disgustful regime. And once more ‘tis Christian
Bells that toll for it to become a renewed mission
That seeks out to also eradicate the liberties
Of the teachers and their flavory abilities
To weave out the shadows that lurk the grounds
Where the empty mind of a child surmounts.
If this god shall be, and thus surrendered
To your conditions, its all-knowingness is unrendered
And certainly a dishonor for this claim.
Upon this wall, the ages have shown the same.
They have glowed the moonlit sparkles
That rejuvenated the German pride from the darkles.
Courage were never given a stronger lullaby
Than in the stone that echoes a voice forced to die.
Melissa R. Mendelson lives in Monroe, New York. She is a Poet and a Horror, Dystopian and Science-Fiction Short Story Author. Last year, her poetry book, This Will Remain With Us, a collection of poems involving being a frontline worker during Covid was published by Wild Ink Publishing. She also recently re-self-published her Sci-Fi novella, Waken, which can be found on Amazon and Amazon Kindle.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Melissa Mendelson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Illusion of Safety
We believed it could never happen again.
But here we are.
The graffiti on the walls.
The violence on the news.
The Hate never died.
It waited, biding its time
until others started to believe.
It never happened.
It’s just fake news.
We are lying,
but we are really lying to ourselves.
It could never happen again,
but what if January 6th went a different way?
What if we are still heading in that direction?
Will it be too late to change course,
or are we already stuck on that train?
They don’t care about history.
They don’t want to remember it.
But we must.
It could happen again.
With Hate rising,
that threat will never fade away.
Michael H. Brownstein
Michael H. Brownstein’s latest volumes of poetry, A Slipknot to Somewhere Else (2018) and How Do We Create Love (2019) were both published by Cholla Needles Press. In addition, he has appeared in Last Stanza, Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, PoetrySuperHighway.com and others. He has nine poetry chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), and The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013).
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Michael H. Brownstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
A Faith Of Brightness
Soot poured from the large chimneys.
Coloring clouds distemper and black,
And the men in the camp did their labor
Thankful for the cover of shade,
But each man also saw the slim light from the sky
Watching over them and it gave them substance.
Sabbath, the men forced to work
Followed the light, whispered passages of Torah,
Passed coded prayers to one another
Knowing the guards could cause more evil
Forcing their bodies to degrade even more,
But they knew they could not stunt their souls
Growing stronger and stronger
Ten times brighter than the sun.
Nancy Lubarsky writes from Cranford, NJ. An educator for over 35 years, she retired as a superintendent. Nancy has been published in various journals including Exit 13, Tiferet, Poetic, Stillwater Review and Paterson Literary Review. Nancy received honorable mention in the 2014 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, and again in 2016. One of Nancy’s poem received honorable mention from The Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Contest. She has also been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize. She is the author of two books: Tattoos (Finishing Line Press) and The Only Proof (Kelsay Press, a Division of Aldrich Books).
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Nancy Lubarsky and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
If the Synagogue’s Now an Eye Care Center,
Can You Still Pray There?
When you are my witnesses, I am God, but when
you are not my witnesses, it is as if I am not God.
I drive by my old neighborhood and pass a
vinyl sign. It covers the carved relief of a
familiar structure. I recognize Hebrew letters,
the word, temple, edges out. Stained glass
windows depict the ancient tribes amid
a façade of archways and columns. This
building—another casualty of Jews who’ve
left their homeland. Most of these are now
churches, mosques, museums, which make
sense. But this one—could I ask forgiveness
in a sanctuary that is now a series of smaller
rooms—sit in a cushioned chair, squint at the
lettered chart, eyes dilated, and wonder, Is God
a place? Jews have too much unstable history,
too little fixed geography. Much time, but little
space. I was born in a small garden apartment
in New Jersey, but what if it were on a crowded
train headed to a camp? Jewish days begin at
nightfall. Darkness drives away those who
question how to pray to a God who isn’t there.
Nanette Rayman-Rivera, author of books—Shana Linda, Pretty Pretty and Project: Butterflies, is a two-time Pushcart nominee, winner of Best of the Net 2007, DZANC Best of the Web 2010, winner Glass Woman Prize. Sugar House Review, The Worcester Review, Wilderness House, Sundog, Up the Staircase, Pedestal, Berkeley Fiction Review, DMQ, Seventh Wave, Stirring’s Steamiest Six, Editor’s Pick Green Silk. Recent: Collidescope Journal, Poetry Super Highway, New Verse News, Adelaide. Samjoko Journal Upcoming:. The Portland Review. She lives with her puppy, Layla.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Nanette Rayman-Rivera and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The movement of shoes and trains, each step and whistle
woodwind sirens of death, each splits
breath in two. Hiding in a barn as a little girl,
fear of being found or jostled out
you lightly opened the shed, let the stars
who slept with you, in.
What drives you are all brittle moments
when you know yourself from the enemy opposite.
You cup your hand around your hearts 4 by 6 shelter,
dreaming of shoes you saw a smiling lady wear
on her way to meet her lover.
And as the woman’s soles went down in mud
she loosened her puff-sleeved dress
that fell to dust, her body like lines of silver
train, her hair untamed sweat and she didn’t care.
She twirled in her black suede platforms with the open toe.
She had such a time, licked her lips to life.
You sleep standing up in the dress
your mother made you, loose threads
work into your skin. Below the mottled
mewling tracks, hold out by Shema, hold
yourself tight. Weightless girl, don’t move, don’t dance
the sky’s too piebald to see you were here,
your pretty shoes lost in snow.
No one is naming you; I will name your shoes.
Maryjane, T-strap, Rounded Toe. They’re sailing
down the gaunt hill like cabbage, their leather,
spiked hides of chronicle, of clouds, crack
on soft ice they’ve traveled
with the toll-takers mist for breath.
Best of the Net Anthology – 2007
Norma Ketzis Bernstock lives in Milford, Pennsylvania. Her poetry has appeared online at Your Daily Poem, has been been featured on WJFF Catskill Radio and has appeared in many print and online journals and anthologies including Stillwater Review, Exit 13, US 1 Worksheets, Connecticut River Review, Paterson Literary Review and Rattle. Her previous achievements include recognition by the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards and a Pushcart Prize nomination. Her chapbook, Don’t Write a Poem About Me After I’m Dead, was published by Big Table Publishing with two more chapbooks in progress.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Norma Bernstock and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Those Who Survived
Potato salad made fresh today,
paprika and parsley sprinkled on top—
I’m back in my mother’s kitchen when I was ten
where I’d peel the skin from warm potatoes
added to the chopped onions and celery
for our family’s holiday celebration.
Cousin Sally still spoke Yiddish.
She’d pinch my cheeks in greeting, squeezed
my pinky sore when she grabbed my hand.
Other cousins had Old World names—
Lottie, Hindy and Milty.
Goldie wore hooped earrings,
her wrists heavy with bangles and charms.
I heard stories about Solomon, my uncle,
the family patriarch, how he sailed back to Austria
in the 1930’s, returned alone and distraught.
His was the face I saw when I prayed.
These cousins, my only family on my mother’s side,
the ones who had left in time.
Olivia Macassey’s work has appeared in publications including Poetry New Zealand, Landfall, Rabbit, and Otoliths, and her second book is The Burnt Hotel (Titus Books). Olivia lives in Te Tai Tokerau, Aoteraoa New Zealand. Visit her on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Olivia Macassey and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Some of the trees that grow here are the same
trees that were here then.
Young crows were walking around with their mouths open in the heat.
The willows were lush, and the curious grasses.
A man joked in his language
as he cycled past
amidst the careful gardens,
and a monkey-faced dog stepped on to the path;
the warmth of cement rose gently in the air
warming alive skin. It was nothing like smoke.
When I arrived, it was an ordinary town.
The handsome young crows, with their beaks in the heat!
Some of the trees growing here are the same.
Students made room for me on the carriage-end floor
between bags and cigarettes and long dusty legs.
The train rattled us like stones.
All the way home I looked at the trees
and all the way home,
did not see me.
First published in Poetry New Zealand (issue 33, ed. Alistair Paterson. Auckland & Palm Springs: Puriri Press/Brick Row Publishing, 2006).
Paoa Tavoletti is an Italian artist-poet living in Rome. Her website is www.paolatavoletti.com She has a MA degree in Creative Arts/Illustration (Hertfordshire University), and a MA degree in Creative Writing/Poetry (Lancaster University); she has published four short novels and a Poetry Collection in Italian, and some poems in English. Her themes are the landscape/place, the female self, the identity/roots, and the cultural heritage. She often works in cross forms: poetry + visual art + prose. Visit her on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Paola Tavoletti and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
they were many
Jerusalem, your stones
have a long memory.
Your constellations are sealed,
wrapped in golden powder.
Your palm trees will not bend
in front of their guns,
and your olive trees won’t shake,
harvested by wounded hands.
Each olive, a name.
Partha Sarkar writes poems to protest against the crime against nature. He is inspired by his brothers and friends, especially Deb Kumar Khan.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Partha Sarkar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Holocaust of the Past, the present and the future
The unprecedented color of the globe.
The bright light of the sweat. ( Remember I do not deify the class.)
The eyes of the dogs gazing at me. A perfect morning
The Holocaust of the Past, the Present and the future.
I cannot enjoy meager breakfast with them.
A procession of the words of the pallbearers in rain.
Every moment counts the pestilence the countless deaths.
No news as to the disappearance of the birds, trees and wombs.
On the floating wings gradually swell on the sins of the bipeds.
Burn chemicals the wallets of the revolution. By the fire cry the rotten grains.
Opens the hands at night the bitter grievance. Difference after difference.
Cycle on the birth and the pussy horse of the Time in the talkative planet meaninglessly.
Enjoys sitting on the sofa the beauty parlor the crying of the sea
When children take shelter at the bottomless bottom of the sea.
Come with innocent candles the investigations getting signals from the nether worlds
And tear the sacred eyes of the wolves with rusted nails and we feel the holocaust is dead
But Alack! Again try hard the shamans… Bring the sham deaths
After the previous night’s nightmare again the hymn in the pussy clamor
And the oppressed of the previous night search for the innocent limbs
And Shangri-La is offered the shanks of the sacred deer.
Rabbi Steven Lebow
Rabbi Steven Lebow is the leading advocate for the exoneration of Leo Frank, an innocent man who was lynched in Georgia in 1915. His life and work in civil rights has been profiled in the Nee York Times and the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, CNN and NPR.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Rabbi Steven Lebow and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Legends of our time
For Irving and Rita Lebow
At night, I wait for dawn.
At dawn, I go to sleep.
It is no accident that I live
in a town beyond the wall,
or that I’ve been expelled
beyond the gates of the forest.
Unlike the Jews, I am not silent.
One generation after the destruction
a beggar in Jerusalem
unwraps his bandages by the gates.
In honor of him, I take this oath.
I dance, I sing the soul on fire.
I utter simple confessions of faith:
What will we do when messengers of God
tell us that God is mad?
A Jew today acknowledges one terrifying fact-
God has given birth to death.
Hasidic masters dance while kneeling,
scream when silent.
This is their vow,
their stolen testament.
Wrenched loose from history
God is tried and found wanting
of any human feeling.
Somewhere a master sings
a single song
Portraits of the Bible,
sages and dreamers,
mingled in cruel
The fantasy of a Golem,
a gentle Frankenstein’s monster,
who brings salvation.
All of these dreams and visions
give way to silence.
A family argument between
the races degenerates
into simple human violence.
One child is good.
One is evil.
One child is naïve
And one son can’t
ask the terrifying question.
And then, there is a fifth child
who simply asks
By now, it is old history.
The universe deconstructs;
six days are adequate
for evil to unfold.
A reporter from the kingdom of memory
lays down his head,
but will not die.
At twilight he awakens
And waits for the sun to rise.
He gives himself this assignment:
at the waning of the century.
It is a sacred act
invoking those discarded
The long-forgotten need a testimony
to sanctify their memory.
Otherwise, all history is nothing.
We are nothing.
I am nothing,
If I do not bring this testimony.
The child crying in the room next to me
is an affirmation
of the power of witnessing
in which all rivers,
even those made by God,
run down to the unforgiving sea.
Richard Widerkehr’s fourth book of poems is Night Journey (Shanti Arts Press, 2022). At The Grace Cafe (Main Street Rag) came out in 2021. He also has three chapbooks and a novel, Sedimental Journey (Tarragon Books). His work has appeared in Poetry Super Highway, Writer’s Almanac, Atlanta Review, and the award-winning Take A Stand: Art Against Hate (Raven Chronicles). He won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan and first prize for a short story at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. He lives in Bellingham, WA, and reads poems for Shark Reef Review.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Richard Widerkehr and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Kristallnacht, 1938: Night of Shattered Glass
Even when the sun stops shining, and no one
is left to light a candle for the man who hid his poem
in that cellar wall in Berlin, we do not forget
his night where souls assemble, unashamed,
and when the night cannot forget—
I believe in God, he said, even when God
is silent—let his scrawl in that cellar
not lie on some dank beach, anonymous,
no scroll; as strike showers come, low waves
seething, let them come, let breath, paper,
black rain, chimneys, Auschwitz; white rain,
Majdanek; let them slice down once, twice,
Belsen, and so forth; then, let night rest.
First published in Open: A Journal Of Art And Letters and reprinted in Night Journey by Richard Widerkehr (Shanti arts Press)
Rifkah (Rita) Goldberg writes poetry and aphorisms, and is a long-time oil painter. She has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Cambridge University, and worked as a freelance writer and editor. Born in London in 1950, she has been living in Jerusalem since 1975, has two sons and twelve grandchildren, and is married to the writer Shalom Freedman. Visit her on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Rifkah Goldberg and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Always There For Me
(In memory of and with great thanks to my very special uncle, Prof. Kopul (Ernest) Krausz — August 13, 1931 to December 10, 2018)
Before I can remember myself
A black-and-white photo
Shows a handsome dark-haired man
In a once fashionable double-breasted jacket
Tightly grasping the outstretched hand
Of an uncertain three year-old-or-so little girl
On my grandparents’ uneven stoop leading to
The unrecalled front door with stained-glass panels
Throughout my childhood
Your presence always brought untold joy
To my mother and father and to your own parents
Whom you held in the greatest respect
From not knowing a word of English when you arrived
At sixteen in England from Holocaust Alba Iulia
Carved out a successful academic career
Spanning two very different continents
With the wife you found and loved dearly
Built an exemplary warm family and home
Where everyone was made to feel welcome
Later struggled on after losing your eldest daughter
Through all your joys and sorrows
Always made a place for me until the very end
Constantly in touch and giving me support
Whenever and however you could
And now you are gone after a long life
With years of suffering at the end
Who will hold my hand so firmly
As I falteringly approach my final years?
Robert Knox of Quincy, MA is a poet, fiction writer, and Boston Globe correspondent. As a contributing editor for the online poetry journal, Verse-Virtual, his poems appear regularly on that site. They have also appeared in journals such as The American Journal of Poetry, New Verse News, The Eunoia Review, and others. His poetry chapbook “Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty” was nominated for a Massachusetts Best Book award. He was the winner of the 2019 Anita McAndrews Poetry Award. Visit him on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Robert Knox and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
First they came for the immigrant children
And we looked away
Because the Leader’s toady told us, “Those are not
And we looked at our own children,
and were reassured
Then they came for the people who cover their heads
or pray too much
And again we looked away
Because we were not Iranians, or Iraqis, or Gazans,
or children of the West Bank detained indefinitely without charges
And, as the man said,
those are not our children
Then they came for the abused, and those who accused their abusers,
and for the accusers’ advocates,
and for those who fought against their abusers,
But we looked away, and jested at the comedie humaine,
because we were not ourselves the victims of abuse
or the advocates for the abused,
and, after all, we were “not his type”
Then they came for the ones who would never
play ball with Der Leader
The ones who would always be trouble
because they were cheated out of their land
or, perchance, had been enslaved
or who had once owned a country that the slave-owners wished
to possess for themselves
or who, we feared, were willing to work
for too little money
or who loved the wrong people
And then because no one else remained standing
in our diminished patria,
nor scribblers with their pencil over the ear,
nor Enemies of the People with their hand-held devices,
nor workers’ parties,
nor defenders of the beaten, humiliated and disappeared
nor anyone able to kick the ball from their feet,
nothing was left for us to do
but to lay our own bodies before his feet
as the painted, spiked, and horny-headed demons of extinction
cheered, and drank, and laughed, and danced upon the bodies
of their victims
and ran up history’s score
First published by The NewVerse.News in July 2019?
Ronna Magy is a Los Angeles based poet and memoirist with work published in journals and anthologies including Stone Poetry Quarterly,Wild Crone Wisdom, Persimmon Tree, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Writers Resist, Sinister Wisdom, and Nasty Women Poets. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley and University of Michigan. Ronna recently coordinated a reading of lesbian poets over 60 for the OutWrite Festival. She’s a retired textbook writer and instructor of English as a Second Language.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Ronna Magy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
“All the sculptures of today, like those of the past, will end one day in pieces…”
We walk slow, our feet mud to the ground.
Hesitating, some ask Is it safe to connect?
Walking towards each other, our feet pull away.
Unknowing fear eats the dimensions of ground.
So many once upright, bedded earth marking their graves.
If we hesitate, time will be gone.
Our bodies crude with the fragility of time.
Already the square empty of trees.
I live in a place called Crowborough, where there are no crows. The story goes that the crows got very large, and looked like greedy old ladies, and got so dangerous that the locals ganged up on them, and killed the lot. Since then, no crows have ever lived here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Rosalind Lee and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
I awoke one morning
On my forearms the code
Of imprisonment and remembrance
Came nearly intact to the surface.
I wasn’t sure if it was for the best
My only proof over Amnesia – Jewish records
Put me there in touch with the people
In small groups at evening prayer.
Grandfather always intoned the words,
Always insisted that God would hear –
No matter what our religion coloured him.
The relief of our gathering undisclosed.
We tried not to count the missing;
Far easier to be grateful for the living.
Each of us marked by numbers, letters, code.
Broken vessels before God.
Wholehearted we prayed for His grace,
That might lead us to peace. After war,
Grandfather paid for surgical removal.
We were warned it might come back.
Somehow, it’s the old friend I never had.
Rp Verlaine lives in New York City. He has an MFA in creative writing from City College. He taught in New York Public schools for many years. His first volume of poetry- Damaged by Dames & Drinking was published in 2017 and another – Femme Fatales Movie Starlets & Rockers in 2018. A set of three e-books titled Lies From The Autobiography vol 1-3 were published from 2018 to 2020. His latest book, Imagined Indecencies, was published in February of 2022. He was nominated for a pushcart prize in poetry in 2021 and 2022. Visit him on Facebook here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Rp Verlaine and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The screaming began
when the doors
Zyklon B pellets
dropped through vents
as death’s grim harbinger.
Those by the vents died
quick while others
Until the last vapors
had nothing to claim.
Grandfather had been
a dentist, was now
a gaunt ghost
survived by pulling
gold teeth of corpses
faster than others.
He never spoke of
what he saw or knew
even to mother who
was his favorite.
So many years later
I walked through
his Star of David
I inherited, so
tightly, the points
went through my
flesh. I too left blood
That faint scar
I touch it when nervous.
When I think of grandfather
or visit a dentist.
Previously published in Last Stanza Poetry Journal in 2022
Sandy Rochelle is an award winning poet-actress, and filmmaker. She appeared on Broadway with the Acting Company of Lincoln Center-and is a Voting Member of the Recording Academy. Publications include: Dissident Voice, Verse Virtual, Every Day Writer, Spillwords Press, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Trouvaille Review, Impspired, and others. Visit her on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Sandy Rochelle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The lion asked the eagle who put those numbers on your long skinny neck?
The rat put them there said the pelican and the monk fish watched –but did nothing.
The antelope cried-but did not intervene- and the moose lost his abiding faith in the
Beauty of the wilderness where he had lived in peace.
Sarah M. Prindle
Bio statement: Sarah M. Prindle received an Associates in English from Northampton Community College. She loves reading everything from historical fiction and memoirs to poetry and mysteries. She hopes to someday publish her own novels and poetry collections and has already had her work published in several literary magazines and websites.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Sarah M. Prindle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
We Are Still Here: The Romani in the Holocaust
They called us thieves, the Nazis,
as they stole countless lives
in the Auschwitz
They called us ‘dirty gypsies’,
a threat to German purity,
but tell me what is pure
about mass murder?
They rounded us up, the Nazis,
as if we were rats,
not men, women, children,
They forced us to wear a
a brown triangle,
a symbol of otherness,
of being less than human.
They meant to kill us all,
but survivors carry the message:
we’re not less, we’re not dirty,
we’re not thieves.
We are still here.
Shelly Blankman and her husband, Jon, live in Columbia, Maryland. Their sons, Richard and Joshua, who live in New York and Texas, respectively, surprised her by publishing her first book of poetry, Pumpkinhead. Shelly’s poems have appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Verse-Virtual, and Muddy River Poetry Review, among other publications.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Shelly Blankman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
My Name is Miriam
A world of dreams imploded by age,
my mirrored face gazes back at me.
Summers of buttercups would soon
be over. The sweet taste of life, too,
would wane. This is the sum of me, I thought.
This is who I am,
But who am I, really?
My name is Miriam.
No one calls me that.
Miriam exists no more,
Her story, like so many others.
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers.
Their lives in trinkets and candles,
All that makes a house a home, now
littered and looted with shards of glass,
photos and papers shredded and burned,
nothing left to share. No one left to share it.
Ghosts of children, too. A one-armed bear
matted with drool. A crinkled Monopoly
set with missing pieces. And Miriam, like
so many others, robbed of strength and spirit,
no way to stand, nowhere to go, mired in the mud
where life used to be where
and women cooked
and children giggled
and lovers kissed
and teachers taught
and rabbis chanted.
Burning embers are all that remain,
where skeletal villages are living graves,
spit on by brown-shirted boys, barely men,
air thick with the stench of the dying, the dead.
A fortunate few able to flee,
jammed in a barge destined for dreams
Among the chattel, my grandmother,
her dress so lovingly stitched,
now stained and grimy,
sagging on her four-foot frame,
so tiny against this monster war
that had choked her childhood,
and in its wake, sweet Miriam.
In this barge prison, my grandmother,
masking pain and loss,
like so many others on the boat that day,
headed in fear for freedom
hanging onto a frayed rope of hope
through fickle waters,
hearts pounding with each ocean wave.
Like others, she cries and no one hears,
Packing her pain what little was left
As she headed for the boat that day
Her small carpet pouch filled
With photos, maybe a coin or two
from her beloved Austria.
Dreams of freedom mixed with fear,
No family waiting,
to yell, “Here I am!”
No shoulder to cry on.
No aunt or uncle or friend to say,
Cry on if you want, cry if you must,
her tears invisible. No one must know.
so small and frail at seventeen.
Her high-top shoes,
Scuffed with dirt and wear.
What would her mother say?
Her mother gone. Her father, too.
Nine brothers and sisters left behind
in distant snaking smoke.
Her sister, her confidante
Her anchor to life itself.
Where was she?
Her dear, sweet Miriam.
Like the rest of them.
Now, generations later,
The smoke long cleared,
I carry her name.
Miriam, A strong-willed child.
And yet, how could Miriam rebel?
How would she? No voice to scream.
starved for strength to fight. I am bound
to rebel where she could not.
I am bound to remember her and
all the others who died with her and
would have been born for generations to follow
if only she had lived. I am bound to speak for those
muted by fear to show strength for those who cannot.
I am bound to rebel.
My name is Miriam.
(Previously published in The Ekphrastic Review)
Stephen E Mead
Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer. Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online. Recently his work has appeared in CROW NAME, WORDPEACE and DuckDuckMongoose. Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall. Visit him on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Stephen E Mead and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Exterminators List Reasons
Enough lashes so that the skin, or what little is left, will fall away from the bone.
That’s good. We like to watch & have others see. Make them kneel first,
in urination. We provide just the right amount of liquids in order to ensure this.
We provide just the right amount always so the living will hunger & taste death
while doing so. Their fear has a function, has become the sum of their usefulness;
despicable, weak. How often we spit, caressing the whip’s handle before bringing
down the slender end.
Don’t you love the sharp blow you small pathetic bit of…
Oh, you’re so easy to hate, allowing us to do these things, allowing us to be this way.
Stand up then. Sure, we’ll shoot you & have your best friend dig the crypt.
You know this so stop shaking. You know this so what’s the point
of wanting to keep the hunger we provide you?
You see, we told you your kind wasn’t logical.
Come now, stinking pig, oink oink, isn’t that enough?
What makes us sick is your infection of being afraid.
Susan Beth Furst
Susan Beth Furst is an award-winning haiku poet and Children’s picture book author. She has published three chapbooks: Souvenir Shop, Road to Utopia, and Neon Snow. Her Children’s books include Humpty Dumpty Cracks and All, Electric Pink, The Amazing Glass House, and The Hole In My Haiku. She also edits The Word On the Street: a journal of Jesus poems. Susan lives in Fishersville, Virginia, with her husband Herb, and a canary named Mozart. Visit her on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Susan Beth Furst and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Hadassah, calling through the ages,
interceding for her people.
They tried to kill us,
but we survived—
hanging from the very gallows
he built for us.
And a little boy
with a runny nose,
a mother like Esther
to tidy up
for the festival—
when we defeated our enemies
with the help of a king.
Now, we will live forever
and a distant thunder
on the horizon.
David Labkovski Project: Reflect and Respond, Online Exhibition, Holocaust Commemoration April 2022 www.davidlabkovskiproject.org
Susan M Davis
LGBTQ-married to my wife. I taught a two month Holocaust unit every year to my gifted eighth grade students. I’m not Jewish but I still felt I wanted to teach the Holocaust so my 3000 students could carry my lessons out into the world. I live in Colorado.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Susan M Davis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Voice of a Cattle Car
I was a car of destruction
I knew that from the beginning
Collecting Jews to roll on to the concentration camps
There were rules I had to follow
Come rain or shine
I careened down the tracks
Carrying Jews to their death.
I’m sorry for my cold womb
But the Nazi guards never let up.
The screams and fears of terror
of all the people in my cavity
Made me want to stop
The smoke and steam polluting the air
But that was nothing compared to the people
held captive in the torso of myself
My doors were locked- not even a crack of air at hand
People suffocated because my engine was running
I was only a cattle car barreling down the tracks
But the blood and scratches on the inside of me
Was visible for all to see.
The fighting in my car was loud and clear
One crumb of bread became a nightmare
I wanted no one to come near
But the Nazis wanted me day and night
To transport the Jews to their death
If I only knew the damage, I would perpetrate
I would have played dead
And stopped on the tracks.
Thea Iberall is ‘a shimmering bridge between heart and mind.’ An inductee into the International Educators Hall of Fame, she is featured in the documentary “Poets, Passion and Poetry.” Thea has been published widely in anthologies and journals including in Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust. Her book of contextual poems, The Sanctuary of Artemis, traces the roots of patriarchal domination through poetry and essays. Thea’s poems springboard from the personal into moral issues and emotional truths. Author of the ecofeminist novel The Swallow and the Nightingale. Formerly from LA, she lives in Dedham, Massachusetts. Visit Thea on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Thea Iberall and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Dedicated to the Jews killed in the Holocaust
I’m learning Hebrew. I’m not exactly sure why. I mean I’m Jewish
but not Jewish Jewish, as in going to temple every weekend
or eating matzoth instead of bacon. There are other things I need to do
but there I am every night holed up under the covers trying to decipher a
mem from a samech and a dalet from a resh. I have this theory.
We can’t see the civilization we live in, but we’re all part of it,
and when kids turn eighteen, they step up to participate in it.
I think of civilization as a big blanket above us and we’re all holding up
our small corner of it, like doctors and lawyers, nurses and judges.
And then I had a thought, what if something terrible happens
and I’m the only Jewish person left in the world. People would start
asking me questions like what do all these prayers mean.
For example, there’s this prayer, Lecha Dodi. It’s sung every Friday night near
the beginning of the service. It says welcome Sabbath bride, enter the sanctuary.
On the last verse, the congregation turns toward the door at the rear of the sanctuary
to welcome the Sabbath. Boi ve-shalom Come in peace. When I first did this, I found
it difficult to coordinate my feet with my mouth, all the while trying to make sense
of this strange alphabet.
But then I learned something. In 1943, the French militia—the Milice of the Vichy
government—decided to put an end to Jewish worship in Lyon, France. One Friday night, a Milice commando, armed with three hand grenades, entered the rear door of the Great Synagogue. Little did he know where they were in the service. The congregation stood up as one and faced him. Boi ve-shalom. Come in peace. The commando, smug in his snazzy uniform and tight blue beret, was stunned. How did they know he was there? He had used all the stealth techniques he had learned from the Nazis. Sweat began seeping into his brown shirt like buckets of blood. Besides, he wasn’t a killer, he had a new wife and Jews weren’t even human. He had done this dozens of times, tossing hand grenades at nameless hordes of pigs like pitching pineapples at monkeys. But this was different,
he was staring into the faces of his victims:
Old grandfathers with their shuffles, stooped grandmothers worried
about their sons. Mrs. Lunt the dressmaker with her pudgy hands
and hair parted to one side. Defiant Mr. Gold who broke his glasses
that afternoon. Seventeen-year-old Alain with his eyes on Yvette.
And Mrs. Cohn exhausted from trying to piece together the Sabbath meal.
Some were smiling, iridescent like spruce trees.
Others had their heads bent, worrying with the weight of their lives.
But on all their lips was the same thought:
to welcome the Sabbath, God’s beautiful bride,
his Shekhinah, after six days of hard toil to create a world
and hold together their families. The Sabbath was
a place more in time than in space, a moment of tranquility—
of menuhot—a mystical moment when one could just be and not do.
They had no candles no challah no wine-stemmed glasses,
but they could remember being slaves in Egypt, and by resting,
they were saying—we are free.
Boi ve-shalom Come in peace, crown of her husband.
Boi ve-shalom ateret ba’alah gam be-simchah u-ve-tzahalah,
Toch emunei am segulah bo-i chalah bo-i chalah —
He stared. They stared. And then he ran away
and they all lived for at least another day.
Toch emunei am segulah bo-i chalah bo-i chalah
So I’m learning Hebrew. I figure this 5800-year-old
blanket was given to me for a reason.
I’m going to spend another day learning another prayer.
You can never tell when it might be useful.
Tina Hacker’s poems earned a top-ten placement in the 2019 and 2020 Annual Poetry Super Highway Contests. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Tina was a finalist in New Letters and George F. Wedge competitions and named Editor’s Choice in two literary journals. Her most recent poetry collection, GOLEMS, features over 30 of these mythical creatures based on Jewish folklore. In 2016, Tina was honored as a Muse for The Writers Place in Kansas City, MO, and currently is Poetry Editor of the national magazine, Veterans’ Voices. She lives with her husband, Lynn Norton, in Leawood, KS.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Tina Hacker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Warsaw Ghetto: Never Forget
The teenager plays
with her younger sister,
wiggling her fingers
to make the six-year-old giggle.
Then both follow their parents
in silence, so close they feel
attached like buttons to a coat,
until hands grab their hands,
pull them up and inside a boxcar.
Pepper of despair, intense and
persistent, burns the older girl’s
throat, muting her screams.
She knows the train’s
inside the rumors she heard
in the ghetto exploded into answers
she refuses to share. The little one
must not know. Maybe their
parents don’t know.
Nazi guards shout at the panicking
crowd. You’re going to a place
the Reich recently built. You
will be taken to clean quarters.
The guards chuckle when they discuss
cleansing, but they don’t lie.
Treblinka II boasts new construction,
engineered for death.
The sisters’ fingers remain
tightly braided in the girls’ final moments
as if a defiant grip could squeeze
the poison from the fumes.
No burial, no marker. Their flesh
joins other flesh in flames.
But their souls escape,
wearing shawls of smoke.
Relatives who survive
mourn, but they are gone now.
We, who live, must reach
for those unknown to us,
grasp hands, tell them,
we will never forget.
Originally published in The Elder Leaf Collection
Tom Weiss grew up on a cattle ranch next to the Everglades in west Broward County, FL (now the town of Weston). He moved to Knoxville, TN for a job after graduating from Vanderbilt and had a career in commercial real estate management and development until the pandemic retired him. Upon retirement, Tom came out of the literary closet, and started submitting poems for publication in late 2021. He has had nineteen poems published in five journals to date. The first was published on Poetry Super Highway. Visit Tom on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Tom Weiss and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
granny was a counter puncher
she spoke to me once
beyond the usual greeting
for a boy of five
here’s my little monkey face
cheeks pinched pink
a nod to nonsense before moving
when grandaddy drove her
up from miami
for sunday dinners
she was tightly tuned
to my father’s patronage
since he paid for the house
she later left to his younger brother
she understood priorities
lunge parry bleed repeat
having crawled across borders
in riverbeds by moonlight
cursed by chases of cossacks
she delivered my dad in paris
the city of love
we were surprisingly alone
all the oblivious others
she called me close
to her chair beside a flintlock floor lamp
with a luminescent deerskin shade
she recounted family stories
cousins uncles aunts were
gassed then skinned
for lampshades and accessories
jewish cakes of soap
is insouciance the armor of the modern man
my father’s wealth and land were his proof
time-release terror was her bequest
belonging as it cooled
Tova Hinda Siegel
Tova Hinda Siegel, a writer/poet, is a midwife, cellist, mother, grandmother and great grandmother of many children living around the world. After earning a BA from Antioch and an MS from USC, she began writing and has studied with Jack Grapes, Tresha Faye Haefner, Taffy Brodesser-Akner among others. Her work has appeared in Salon.com, I’ll Take Wednesdays, On The Bus, MacQueens’s Quinterly, Gyroscope Review, Poetry SuperHighway, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Better than Starbucks and several anthologies. Her first collection, “Uncertain Resident” was published recently. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Tova Hinda Siegel and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
A Polish Forest 1942
The sky lazes as they run
from a hollowed log to the next
grotto. I heard the story, their story,
the story of their escape. Chased
as less than animals, a feast for men
brandishing guns and whips.
Leashed dogs follow the scent
and pull their sadistic keepers
through the swaying forest.
The sun, no longer flashing gold,
indolent now, drifts into knolls and hills.
The reapers vanish into night’s pinched cold.
Dusk darkens the western horizon, shadows
the ghosted trees and the family coils together
on the quivering
ground, next to stumps
and rippling grasses,
lullabying the stars.
A cradlesong is whispered
tear-filled eyes and suckling mouths.
*Oyfen pripetshik brent a fayerl
un in shtub is heys…
A full moon rises over the hillocks,
the lakes. Velvety ringlets fall across
the baby’s sleeping visage. Her father
has dropped to his knees, foraging
through the spongy soil for the night’s
sink into yield.
Un der rebbe learnt kleyne kinderlakh
Un der rebbe learnt kleyne kinderlakh
into the swampy footpaths.
Voices cannot rise, not yet.
Driven souls tempered
through hunger and fear and aching
follow an unseen path, searching
for breathing moments.
Light from the morning’s
unfurled beams flame grace.
The saffron sun brings silent hope.
Yes, they escaped. Their daughter died
in that forest. Their son lived.
I, who in this life never ran from searching sadists,
I, who in this life never felt the pant of hungry dogs,
I, who in this life never slept in a tree trunk,
hoping to survive the night,
I nevertheless carry their story
in my heart
that my soul remembers.
*A well-known Yiddish lullaby sung to generations of Jewish children
Translation: On the hearth, a little fire burns and in the house it’s warm
And the Rabbi teaches little children the Alef-Beis (alphabet)
This is Tova’s third time participating in Poetry Super Highway’s Holocaust Remembrance Day collection.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Tova Snitzer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Even in death they are allowed no peace
No quiet resting place
No acknowledgement of the horror endured
Can you see the forest for the trees?
Growing from an earth that still bleeds
34,000 Jews murdered in two days before Yom Kippur
And another 100,000+ over the next years
There are no head stones to visit
There are not enough cries or tears
To memorialize this place of death
To honor the lives of those who were taken
They only have each other
And as the rockets rain down anew
Perhaps the time has come
For them to rise back from the ashes
This crowd of thousands
William Heath has published three poetry books: The Walking Man, Steel Valley Elegy, and Going Places; a chapbook, Night Moves in Ohio; three novels: The Children Bob Moses Led (winner of the Hackney Award), Devil Dancer, and Blacksnake’s Path; a work of history, William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest (winner of two Spur Awards and the Oliver Hazard Perry Award); and a collection of interviews, Conversations with Robert Stone. He lives in Annapolis, MD. www.williamheathbooks.com
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by William Heath and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Banality of Evil
Crematoria created problems.
The gas was so efficient,
you see, all those bodies
piled up on top of one another
and so forth. Corpses
swell and smell, soggy bones
don’t burn well. Rest assured
we did many scientific studies
to find the most efficient method
of getting air to circulate freely
inside those heaps of the dead
so that the fire could breathe.
Previously published in Steel Valley Elegy (Kelsay Books, 2022)