Communion

For Kerry’s Prompt Art Flash over at Real Toads.  Jamuary 27 was World Holocaust day.  I began writing this poem before that and finally finished it for this prompt.  The thinness of the man and his bald head put me in mind of many of the pictures of those liberated from the Nazi imprisonment.  The story of the communion is real, told me years ago by a priest who was liberated.

The Turning Point
David Bülow
Used with Permission

Communion
“The vilest deeds like poison weeds Bloom well in prison air; It is only what is good in man That wastes and withers there.” Oscar Wilde

we were herded together like cattle –
all of us –
cows, pigs, horses –
together and loaded onto a train to be shipped off
to who knows where.
We stood in our feces and urine and endured
the bitter cold. I wasn’t even Jewish.
I was Polish. I was Catholic.
The village priest was loaded along with us.
I remember that last day before we were liberated.
A bunch of skeletons rattling around.
One of the guards had in his kindness
obtained a small vial of wine and a communion wafer.
the priest broke the wafer into bits
and cast them upon the snow.
He splashed the drops of wine upon the snow.
We scooped up the snow with our hands
and took in the body of Christ.
I remember that day.
The ashes falling from the sky like bitter snow.
I rattle around in my closet now.
A skeleton remembering that day
and the bitter snow.

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