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.