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Dust Thou Art...

By       Message Vi Ransel     Permalink
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Dust Thou Art...

In the village adjacent
to the concentration
camp townsfolk watched
the daily prisoner parade
down countless railroad car
ramps through the gates
of a place too small to hold them,
lambs, not one of which ever returned.

The townsfolk lived in the shadow
of the smokestack gushing ash
and smoke in a steady stream.
They must have breathed the sweet,
sickly smell of hell but never asked
what went on inside because
someone might tell them.

And in their cleanly way
rushed outside every day
to feather dust away
ash that settled nightly
on brightly-flowered window
sills, then dash inside
to their neat and tidy lives
pretending not to know
they lived next door
to a crematorium.

When the camp was
liberated at last
the townsfolk gasped
in suprise and disgust
but they had all that ash
on their feather dusters.

...and to dust thou shalt return.

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Vi's works appear widely both in print and online. She conducts Poetry Workshops and gives readings in Central New York. Her latest chapbook is "Sine Qua Non Antiques (an Arcanum of History, Geography and Treachery).

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