By Carol Gilbertson
After months without song
or sight of wing, I sweep aside
the curtains, and suddenly one stops
on the winter-bare honeysuckle
inches from the window.
Then, as if arranged,
another lands just below.
They sit on respective twigs,
facing different directions
and yet each delicate body
seems to ruffle slightly.
in the living room at night
when you and I sit
faced into different books,
one lamp-lit body
shifts slightly in its chair,
sensing across the room
the other’s warmth,
the soft flight within.
--New Millennium Writings 2010
On the Train from Krakow
Outside the window
herds of white birches unleafed,
skeletal. I remember Yellowstone
after the fire—hill, valley, hill, valley—
thousands of pine trunks
standing scorched in mid-summer
like wartime photos of ghost bodies
staring from camp fences.
At Auschwitz the guide,
in memorized English, detailed the scope
and efficiency of the demolition. Pointing
to one crematorium and then its twin
across the road, she did not notice her slip:
These two are miracle images.
The trains left indelible tracks
which still end abruptly at the heart of the camp
as did their hordes of terrified passengers,
each one bearing a singular name.
At Josepha Synagogue the walls
seemed papered with an intricate design.
I wanted to touch but leaning in close
discovered finely-lettered script,
name after name in rows—each
miraculous life-line mirroring the next—
like tiny cars on a track.
-- The MacGuffin (Winter 2010)