Westwind

Unbranding

Robby Nadler

the gates to birkenau are tattooed on the insides of my

eyelids iron depiction lest we forget

why a mother would take a mascara pencil               stab her

children blind until they

spoke the language of familiar corpses is a

riddle:                      do you go right, or left?

i have no answer— spent two lives distancing myself

from anyone who could conjure such

relatives. i say, “it’s best we leave the dead to their

own love.” still, she goes right, drags skeletons

of children older than her through a kitchen during family dinners with

such disregard, calls out the names of ectoplasmic cousins and uncles

that somehow i am supposed to embrace. there are

things you don’t tell a five-year old. there are things you let

flutter away. the wings of a captured yellow butterfly pulsate in

night sweats of adolescent semitic boys named after those that have passed.

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