Poem of the week: My pity is fake … by Miriam Neiger-Fleischmann

These stark lines set out a hard, unfinished personal reckoning with atrocious memory

My pity is fake,
my poems, atonement.
Mutation in my genes
began in the gas chambers.
Even before that,
antigens were
created in my blood
against torture and murder
and mindless oppression
and all kinds of atrocities.
Yet, nobody cares
if we count their dead
or our own dead.
See the dead
arranged in a row,
arranged in a pile
or burned in a pile.
Everyone wants
to keep evil at bay.
Therefore, I don’t cry
over the Palestinians,
nor do I cry
over anyone else!
Because, if I cry
over my dead,
they will stand before me
in a long line,
their fleshless corpses
eaten by time,
as in a roll call
or on the “day
of visitation”,
and their mute
muselmann hands
will offer
faded shreds
from an old shroud
to wipe my tears if I weep
If I weep

Translated by the poet and Anthony Rudolf

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