Sunlight and Finches

1 December 2013

Slipping through frosted
wombat runs,

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.

As unbearable,
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 7.

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.)

 


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