For me the Holocaust started in 33 in a small village | Auschwitz

by Lyn Lifshin

there was an
electrical fence
you couldn't climb
it but could
speak thru it
families were taken
together they
took their luggage
into the camps
their hair wasn't
cut they were in
a different position
than anything anyone
there had seen these
people had special
cards that said
gassing and quarantine
we didn't know why
they'd be kept six
months there was a
school for children,
a theatre. They were
told to write letters
to relatives in the
ghetto to say they
were working, together.
The ss came to play
with the children.
What we didn't know,
that at midnight there'd
be a note. The lake of
ashes. Those cremated
were dumped in it
they said they were
going to Heidibrook.*
There was no Heidi, the
train went right to
the crematorium.
*A resort they believed they were
going to that did not exist.

Lyn Lyfshin's most recent books include The Marilyn Munroe Poems and Blue Tattoo.
A collected volume of her poetry, Cold Comfort, will be released in February 1997.