I’m remembering visiting Auschwitz
on a spring day in June, 2010:
Birds flying overhead
Clouds soft and fragile
This is not a place for the living, the beautiful.
This is a lake of ashes, a smell of burning bones,
a watch tower where Nazi’s drank tea, shot bullets,
told jokes. Nearby are barracks where people slept
crowded as bedbugs; where I taste dirt that likely holds
flecks of their skin. I spend the night here. I cannot sleep.
I can only take one breath, then another,
hoping that I will be able to walk away in the morning.
I do. And I don’t. That is why
I still write about Auschwitz.
That is why I am afraid in 2016:
another demagogue elected President; supporters
who applaud his fuck-you attitude, find him to be
a breath of fresh air. Me, I feel burned by this air
that is only hot breath. I know that breath
as hot as his can set fire to the world.
I wanted to celebrate our first woman president;
one who has experienced the power of creation
and knows it to trump the power of profit;
whose breasts have fed and nurtured new life.
Instead we elected a misogynist who gropes breasts,
then brags about it like an adolescent bad boy.
Wilderness Sarchild is an expressive arts therapist, poet, playwright, and grandmother of five. Her play, “Wrinkles, the Musical,” will be produced at The Cape Cod Theatre Company in 2017. Her poems have been published in several anthologies/journals and she has won awards for her poetry and play writing from Veterans for Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Chicago’s Side Project Theatre Company, and in 2015, was the first place regional winner of the Joe Gouveia WOMR National Poetry Competition.