On the 70th anniversary of May 8, 1945

The war is over
it’s over
it’s over
Europe is free, they said

Was there a collective exhaling?
The belly of Europe breathing life
back into the soot?

Your cities are gone
Men and women line up to assess
the totality of the loss

Whole families that went up in smoke
a tattooed scar
the scar of hunger
a relative you’ll never meet again
a whole village lies rotting in a ditch
a language has been lost

Someone will hang for this

But first,
scraping through the ash
in the hopes of finding a
golden
Jewish
tooth
with which to buy bread

The soldier’s illegitimate child needs to eat, too

Mothers give birth in the killing fields
Mothers, as fire-scorched ideas in the sky

Have you seen my mother?

It’s over, you’re free, they said

All those things in life that one person holds dear,
gone
multiplied by millions

Keep counting, keep counting
count to quantify the loss
count to calculate the compensation

How much did your mother tongue cost?

Someone will hang for this

Gallows
built in the memory of your mother

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