Slipping through frosted
like an animal,
I recoil where the dead deer lay.
As naked as Bellow’s mares.
Her flanks and rump to be had.
She is a photo taken by headlights,
a Shoah archive,
‘Results of search for victims whose family name (including synonyms) is Kalisch: 806’.
She lay like Kafka’s sisters,
fence wire alive with sunlight and finches.
but always possible,
as ‘SS-Unterscharfuehrer Kalisch,
served in Galicia, more…’
The ghostly, chamois-skinned woman
who served in my childhood’s delicatessen.
Her creased forearm’s tattoo,
its brutal, blue European
Her neat, white parcels
of horrific imports.
(My father played the trumpet in a brass band, wore an
ex-Airman’s uniform, missed the last train on Anzac Days,
walked home like a ghost through dawning, distant suburbs.)