Hour of the Silhouettes
Caught in your undertow
the force of three atomic bombs obliterated my entrails
releasing a sorrow to dwarf all sorrows
I could no longer deny your name branded in my heart
For that is where it happened
the seared flesh
the cataclysmic knowing
the fracturing rock
every bridge collapsing

All the storms converged
pulling up roots and toppling any semblance of having been in this world
revealing a child
perched on a tree limb
just strong enough to hold her
and to be held
A hideaway
from whence to observe
to breathe the fragrant evergreens
to stanch the loneliness with pine needles and sap

A child’s eyes studying the numbers tattooed on Margot’s arm
holding her hand to discover a garden of rose hips
a salve for the hour of the silhouettes

A child listening to strangers tell and retell of Zyklon B and starvation
of frozen land and death

A child stunned by the news of the hanging

A child alone with night terrors

An inconsolable child nestled in the disquieting blanket

an expansive forest of echo
a thin edge so vast and cutting
a barren shoreline where my breath stutters your name
and aches for a liminal world where you return
where time is boundless
where we huddle

I beseech you stay
your gaze betrays my fantasy
your determination stolid
you know and have suffered more than I can ever withstand
your eyes tell me so

I work to mend
to stitch
and know
it is

Aneta Frenkiel

Aneta Frenkiel is the daughter of Holocaust survivors who remained in Poland until 1968 and then immigrated to the United States. She is a professor of cultural studies and is conducting ethnographic research with second generation survivors residing in Latin America.