A/N: This subject was a difficult one, but I felt like I had to write this poem. It took me a while to get it right, or at least close to right, and I'm still not sure it's quite there, so any criticism is greatly appreciated.




demons

I remember when the river
childhood's washrags stained
the delicate tint of blood
and my mother held me close and whispered
gently as the bullets fly
that each red droplet stood for
yet another kinsman killed.

***


I can see it now
fresh as raw meat
my breath frozen, viral particles caught
held alight in thick winter air
nothing moving in the vast fields save the soldiers
not I
not my breath
not the domino village
toppled on top of me
warmth fading quickly, frightening
praying to be like them
please see me dead
let me suck the breath back in and never
ever let it out...

Salvation in a still-warm body
butterfly breaths fogging gray against her glasses
I closed my eyes, so natural
stomach and teeth clenched
heartbeat of a hummingbird
wings so soon to be crushed
by the heavy boots of soldiers
hate-politics endorsed
the burning crosses take far too much effort
concentration camps are so much more efficient
they share not our religion!
even better
gun them down
line them up, those sorry peasants
their men's heads already buried
these old ones, scraggly children,
starving mothers clutching to their holy books
line them up and gun them down
red confetti splashed on snow
slits in the wrist of the country
sure to rejuvenate
such is their logic
such is our fate

*

fifty-six years later
warm by the fire, books beckoning
a letter penned and signed
slowly, careful
with shaking brittle hands
it's my last
for I am dying
at home, alone
the last of my family for the last half a century
finally going
vaporizing
melt into the colors and then
fade away with dusk




"Who today remembers the
extermination of the Armenians?"
-Hitler, 1939
The colors may fade, but don't let the memories. Look it up.