A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

Two Poems by Marc Alan Di Martino

Nana’s Last Hanukkah

She blesses each long thin candle one by one

twisting their shy little necks into the hollow brass

fingers, thumb and index brittle as bone.

All evening, a pale light lingers—

our living room alive with shadow play

the curtain a stage, a Chinese theater.

Nana’s voice is the voice of the dead

gathering in her, swelling in her throat

like a column of smoke, her tiny prayer book

lit fire in her hands.

Nana's Last Hanukkah

Shmattes

       after a scene from Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah

 

Do not say bodies. Do not say corpses.

Do not mouth the names of the dead

in the earth: your wife, your three daughters.

 

Tears are verboten. Just cart them off

to the incinerator—they are rags,

shmattes. They use the Yiddish word

 

so it smarts. Hesitate and they club you

with the butt of a gun. I had a beautiful voice

once, my throat was a river of song

before the silvered tongue was torn from it.

 

"Schneller!"  they bark. And when it’s over

after even the bones are churned to dust

they’ve saved a bullet for my neck. Tak, tak.

Poles stand around drinking vodka, laughing.

Marc Alan Di Martino

Marc Alan Di Martino is a Pushcart-nominated poet, translator and author of the collection Unburial (Kelsay, 2019). His work appears in Baltimore Review, Rattle, Rust + Moth, Tinderbox, Valparaiso Poetry Review and many other journals and anthologies. His second collection, Still Life with City, will be published by Pski's Porch in 2021. He lives in Italy.

 

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