Unless You Know: A Poem for Yom HaShoah

By: 
Rachel Lipetz MacAulay

Concentration Camp Memorial

Unless you know
what it is to look
at black & white proof
at lambs led to slaughter
at herds of the lost
at ghosts of a people
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
the deluge of tears
for strangers not touched
for family not met
for babies not kissed
for laughter not born
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
a childhood full
of ghosts at the table
of monsters in shadows
of stories of suffering
of prayers said in vain
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
that your people lie still
in piles of teeth
in hills of thrown shoes
in stubs of lit candles
in graves long forgotten
And know they were yours
And know they are you

Unless you know
that guilt is ingrained
that grief never ends
that hate comes in waves
that life carries pain

Do not tell me you know
what it is that I feel
unless you know they were yours
and know they are you

 

©2016 Rachel L. MacAulay All Rights Reserved

Rachel Lipetz MacAulay is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, social media manager, and project manager. She blogs at Challa and Haggis.

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