To Carmen, 1913-1992: by Liliane Richman

The car is a menace tonight
steering me to the edge
Bony hands my skinny companions
take me to solid ground run me to the kitchen
for a fat red cabbage
to shred against the pain of forgetting
for no matter how many times
I try replaying your death I lose it
your face and eyes staring above the hospital bed
beyond a sea of relatives’ faces
Of course it wasn’t sudden
but hadn’t you always recovered from worse?
Typhus anorexia a stroke three days in a coma

The surgeons scraped blood from your brain
and said you’d never be the same
Indeed your vision and hearing progressively failed
together with ambulatory motion,
as family members helpless but habituated
wished you a Hollywood ending
better luck better health
God didn’t you deserve them
after the concentration camp
four children five daily flights of stairs?

Pinch me harder this scene is in a play
written by a sadist
She lay sheet up to her neck
breathing hard no rehearsal this
and the gauze with water on her lips no relief
Still she didn’t convince me
Were I Moses in spite of God’s bidding
I’d say no it’s unfair I cannot accept this
No death for me nor can I believe yours despite the evidence
your face stonewashed cleansed of sorrows
draped in the bed’s whiteness
ogival memory receding vertiginously


Copyright 2013 Liliane Richman, all rights reserved

To find more poems by Liliane Richman, click HERE.

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