Waiting out a Holocaust

 

Surviving the night

turned out  to be

the easy part.

Hell was what followed

in the days

and many nights to come.

Hundreds of days,

hundreds of nights,

enough to eat the heart

and reave the soul.

 

This,

as bitter winter

turned to spring

and hope died

on the vine,

as summer soon succumbed

to the holocaust.

 

Autumn died,

as autumn always does,

but this year we prayed

not for the snow to come

and bring with it

the festive season,

but we wished

it would come

to cover over our dead.

 

A year passed,

and then another,

each one harder

than the last.

People faces

and bodies changed,

but you could see

the creature behind the eyes

had been transformed.

 

Broken by spring.

We sat and watched

the snow turn into mud.

The green shoots

of new life never came.

The air,

heavy with smoke and ash

did not bear the scent

of a new day.

 

More hope lost.

More people gone.

The looming scythe

of extermination

hanging over every head.

 

We keep breathing

and we pray,

now out of

some engrained reflex,

more so than Faith.

If we can still breathe,

if we can still pray,

we know

we are still alive.

 

Bitter hot sun bakes

the ground, and the trees

hide in their own shade.

Flies and spiders crawl,

as if they know

the world will soon be theirs

once again.

 

Then, one day

there is silence.

It must be

that we are dead.

We wait

for the trumpets

and the angels

to proclaim our fate.

 

Instead,

I hear the warbling

of a male nuthatch

and after a moment,

a female calls in return.

Have we survived

another winter?

Have we really

lived through

this long night?

 

It seems that way.

The air is clear

and off in the distance

we can hear

a joyful cry

and I can feel the tears.

 

So much time has gone,

but we remain.

So many fell along the way.

And so many

will stay

broken in their state.

It will be up to us

to take up living.

Remember,

but not let this be our fate.

 

Standing

and walking on our way

to life,

and love,

and freedom

once again.

 

I am amazed at what we can endure,

but I wish

it need not be so.

Freedom ends

so easily

when we let it go,

so we must hold.

 

 

HG – 2022

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