The Train-car

I touch the walls of this old
wooden train-car.
My hand feeling first the
roughness of wood
from another time and place.
My feet standing where
others
from stories past once
also stood that
no longer exist.
A moldy, dusty smell
fills my nose and lungs;
easy to imagine
a time where taking such a full
breath
was not so easy as now.

Who stood where I am?
How many?
My ancestors?  Family friends?
Now, there is space
but my skin feels crawling
with the closeness of spirits,
like their closeness of
bodies on an unknown path
towards destruction.

What children were squished,
crying for mother?
What hearts were praying
out for God’s salvation, freedom
of soul to move on
from this lifetime to
the gates of heaven?

I feel the rocking of this
unending journey.
A boxcar of stench
so raw and real in
the human experience.
Underneath, the smell of
unknown fear
pervading the atmosphere.

Grandmother, she tells me
stories
of this friend or that
who was turned
around
sent back into the
jaws of hell.
A hell that happened
right before our very eyes.
It still does,
even today.
How many tears are shed
far from the comfortable
safety of
the blue glow from
our TV sets,
the buzz of neighborhood
conversations
of who slept with whom
the latest fashion and
the first day of school?

We stood idly by
as we do over again.
Behind our backs
the atrocities of hurt and
pain
inflicted one person
to another.
Where did this capacity
for some to hate
come from?
and, really what is
worse?
The hatred or
the numb ignorance of
what I don’t see
must not exist?

The world stands idly by
abetting the pain
of one human on
another.
Masses of suffering
literally
in our own backyards
that we ignore
locked away in a corner
of heart and mind
because
the pain of what’s real
could just
tear us apart.
I know.
For,
when I take a peek
in that corner,
the wrenching sadness is
too much to bear.

How did they live so
close
in place like
Dachau?
Just a couple short blocks
away from
despair, suffering, torture,
infliction of unimaginable horrors
from one human
to  others.
For what?
A lock of hair?
The reflected color from
one’s eyes?
And perhaps, idleness
is
its own form of
survival.
Because, really,
how could anyone,
ANYONE
survive
knowing
what’s just behind their
back.

We fool ourselves into thinking
not us,
it could never happen:
we are advanced
and wealthy
and wise.
Not here,
no way.
And yet, that thinking
is exactly
what allows
the pain to continue
on.

Abetted as the world stood
idly by.
Taking no action
and thus saying:
Yes.
And, saying yes says
it’s OK,
go ahead,
you have permission
to hurt, harm, slaughter
your fellow
your sister, your brother,
father, mother?
Abetted as the world stood idly by.

 

more by MISSY

Photograph by Nicolai Berntsen

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