How Absence Can Be Spectacle
Terezin, Czech Republic
home 1: where the dining table and pillows are.
home 2: a heavy suitcase.
irony: labor will free you.
greater irony: dying from typhus after liberation. what was liberated: the gate or the
something other than irony: luck and fog will free you.
home 3: what is missing.
a pious place: forced to dump their dead into the river. may they be elsewhere.
the river is camouflage green.
the temptation to play dead and float away.
the weekly 5 minute cold showers. walking back in the snow.
the temptation to survive.
the beds look like crates for boxes of water. for 100.
what weighs more? it is obvious.
what is more valuable? there is one answer, not one solution.
if a human is 70% water.
if a human is a resource.
if water is recyclable.
if a cycle of _______________ continues.
if a human costs.
if energy is neither created nor destroyed.
home 4: what is not home.
not the swimming pool that is off limits.
not the theater that is not for all.
not the chestnut trees. the leaves scarred yellow by insects or disease.
not a cemetery.
home 5: inside the walls of the body. what is unseen, cannot be fingered by others.
to no longer know one’s scent: to be unified by stench.
to sleep standing up: to wake to a nightmare.
to speak: desire.
the spectacle of oppression: fake barber, fake soccer, fake, fake laugh lines.
the spectacle of hope: children drawing pictures, children telling us fairytales, children
holding hands, children.
home 6: memory: a wooden jewelry box saving ashes.
a state of reverence: pushing past one another, blocking one’s view.
a state of reverence: placing stones on a head stone. hard upon hard.
is there a crack for the heart? prayer spoken. wish spoken.
a state of reverence: humming the beloved’s favorite song, crying the beloved’s name
after burning the tongue.
to witness: to not shred paper.
to apologize: to plant rose bushes.
how memory can be spectacle.
home 7: a promised place: heaven, the beloved’s dream, the beloved’s bed.
no zyklon b here. a bird’s nest hanging from a showerhead.
one ladybug drags another one behind it. something hurts: a leg, or ______________.
the path leading in and out paved.
the same path lined with trees.
roots anchored and growing beneath stone.