(For family of Grajewo, exterminated 1942)
The pale flecks in this soil are bones of men
although they might be broken plaster rinds.
The air was still but starts to moan again.
It’s not in rendered flesh that fact resides
or in these dolmens or averted eyes:
the gray flecks’ grayer dust is bones of men.
Stones thrust like teeth attest to thousands,
each stone a town milled down to grinds.
The wind that was quiet starts to moan again.
They liquified in vats of lime
each rushed shift took too much time.
The pale flecks in this soil are bones of men.
Evil is not mere absence but a seething pride
that fouls. Our dazed guide genuflects; but then
that greasy wind begins to moan again.
Who trusts in grace must learn this bitter Polish plain.
In winter rain the flakes work loose and rise again.
The restless plaster drifts are bones of men.
Who holds to miracles at last will come alone
to this windblown place where only minus thrives.
The white specks in this soil are bones of men.
A chilly air will start to moan again.
From Watered Colors, 2014