“…Life gives its whole heart
And death gives its secret…”
—from The Work of the Painter by Paul Eluard (translated by Samuel Beckett)
BUDDHA IN THE BACKYARD
(COVERED IN 11” OF SNOW.
ODDLY A ROBIN CALLS
IN THE DISTANCE. WINTER
A VIGILANT, CONSISTENT TUNDRA,
20 DAYS TILL SPRING)
Some secrets come
are not divulged at all.
February 28, 2015
“…The trouble with tragedy is the fuss it makes…
Mop life up as fast as it dribbles away.”
−from Long after Chamfort by Samuel Beckett
Upon her liberation from Auschwitz
by Russian forces in January 1945,
the young woman after many months of hospital recovery
made the difficult trip back home to Germany.
She located her family’s house on a bombed-out street.
It stood out like a hostel
among the enormous stacks of bricks gleaned
from the other destroyed dwellings of her former neighbors.
Her childhood home was miraculously unharmed—
not a shingle dislodged—the windows not only intact,
but clear and shining as if recently cleaned—
a testament to German tidiness even among a ruin.
The liberated girl knocked on the front door.
It was answered by a German woman,
forty, or so,
hair a tidy yellow bun,
eyes a hard-fixed cerulean blue.
She had a facial expression
that of someone not accustomed to visitors.
The young Jewish girl, who thought
she had experienced all she could,
took a step back when she noticed
the German woman was wearing
a dress of her mother’s.
March 5, 2015
THINGS I REMEMBER
I was driving home from Chicago.
It was a hot summer day.
The air conditioner was on.
Suddenly, the traffic stopped.
There was a short line of cars and trucks
in front of me.
The line behind me was as far as I could see.
A deer had been hit by a truck
and it was in the middle of the road
thrashing wildly about in pain.
It was making a high pitch noise like a scream.
The eighteen-wheeler that had hit the deer
was parked in the emergency lane
with the hind legs of the deer
sticking out of the truck’s radiator.
A tall, lean, blond country boy
dressed in camouflage
left his truck and approached the scene
and surveyed the situation.
He walked up to the dying deer
and then quickly at a trot
returned to his truck and with one clean move
removed his rifle from the rear window gun rack.
With rifle in hand he sprinted back
to the place of the fallen deer,
aimed and put one bullet
into the head of the animal.
He drug the deer by her front legs
to the side of the road.
The traffic slowly continued.
March 5, 2015