Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Sestina for Charlotte, Auschwitz, 1943


Sunday morning, Charlotte,
and the radio plays a Jesus song,
sings me awake, a separation
of my deeper alpha-self and day:
apple juice, wheat flakes, a blue
flutter of birds, and light.

My window is a sequence of light
into your bleak world, Lotte.
From your self-portrait on the wall, your blue
eyes reproach me, your song
of a life cut too short, your dark semite Sunday
and my crucified Jesus, a separation

of me from you. But this separation
of some forty-five light
years, to the day,
Charlotte,
when the Nazi boys sang
Heute gehoert uns Deutchland, acres of blue

sky above their aryan blue
eyes, so like yours, the circles of their separation
from you and your kind in the words of their song:
und morgen die ganze Welt! And what light
illumes this deep gulf, Lotte?
None, even today.

But it is the Age of Aquarius, the Day
of Brotherhood. Yet our colors, blue,
white, and red, my dear Lotte,
have lit distant wars from 'Nam to Nicaragua, a separation
littered with blood and rubble. What light
illumes this modern gulf? What guilty songs

of Auschwitz do I know? What war songs?
Again, none. But someday
we will both know the stars are not cold lights
that give no life, but are instead, blue
fires that warm. I am you, you me, no separation
here. I am dumb with happiness, Charlotte

just to be alive. Bist du Bei Mir, our song, Lotte;
Be Thou with Me. This robin's egg, this flight into blue
may be today an end to the world's separation.

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