Penny Jackson

Poetry: Greetings from Treblinka

He stood there, waiting for
the
104 bus.
An old man with a cane
wearing a shabby black coat
and carrying an umbrella
even though the sidewalk
sparkled with sun.
Just another old man
on the Upper West Side.
But she recognized
the zigzag scar
that ran down like
a lightning bolt
from his right cheek
the small hands with
the stubby fingers
that still could do
such horrendous acts,
She could never forget those hands
Squeezing her in a death grip
for the soldiers.

“Jewish vermin,”
He had called all of them.
Her grandmother.
Her aunt.
Her mother.
Her sister.
She was only seven.
But taught never to forget.

Memory is like a dying plant
that with just a little water
flourishes.

He tapped his umbrella
impatiently,
The bus was late.

She had a knife in her bag
Always. Even though
her husband
told her she was safe
In America.

She opened the clasp
felt the sharpness of the blade.
So easy to plunge
into the old man’s heart
and say
Greetings from Treblinka.

The bus groaned to the stop.
She moved quickly
and stood behind him
Smelling his sour stale
old man scent
like milk gone bad
Such an old man now.
His hand trembling as he
reached
into his pocket.

Now,
she said
in her own language.
But now passed too quickly.
The old man was an old man
Shuffling toward the unfold-
ing bus door.
The sun filled her eyes.
And just maybe
maybe
he was the wrong
man.

 

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