Thinking of Warsaw
Simpler to throw a rock at an historical tank than to sift the rubble? Simpler to sign the petition than to stand with some against others? The sniper fires his rifle at his father’s father’s father’s father’s father. Each night—as if impregnable—chain, dead bolt. Some die who are silent, shamed. Some die who will not change. Sometimes, as if anew, I learn greed. Nursing-home doctor cuts good eyes, bills Medicaid for cataracts. Mengele needled dye into twins’ eyes. I need to assert that they are of sacred memory, not abstract. Torturers pray, despots philosophize—all in the work of days. Beria judged his victims "hardened, uncompromising." For years, Mother fed from a stomach tube. Outside: sea, gases, galaxies, radiation, darkness, interstellar dust. • Simpler for X to kill than not? The pardoner shall not pardon. Facts almost exceeding reckoning. Wheel-chaired torso minus legs and arms. Some immolate themselves and/or others. Death unmeasured by life. Mind and form of the beloved. Though I swear that the atoms do not care. Sometimes: the rage that could tear steel. Sometimes: the small deliverance of sweat. To push up from the floor on knuckles. Portion of breath, its sustenance. X = Y; evade the juggernauts? No reprieve; write: tree, bird, flower, warlord.
From Somebody Stand Up and Sing by Hugh Seidman. Copyright © 2005 by Hugh Seidman. Reprinted with the permission of New Issues Poetry & Prose, Kalamazoo, Michigan. All rights reserved.