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Jul 2017
A baby clutches his mother’s dress
Unaware of how it will save his life
Unwary of the saving grace that will come to rest
The child is soft and clean
His name is Eugenius, the second of three
After Richard, before Michal
He is just a babe, no bigger than an infant can be

A toddler clutches his mother’s dress, the hem
Unaware of tragedy
Unwary of the Horror that awaits him
The child is frightened and shaking
His name is Gene, the second of three
After Richard, before Michal
He is just a little one, no taller than Mama’s knee

A child clutches his mother’s hand
Unaware from behind her skirt as they are herded
Unwary of the disaster to come from the cart
His name is Genie, the second of three
Before Mikey, after Richie
He is just a child, no higher than Tata’s knee

A boy holds his brother’s hand tight
Unaware of the danger he is in
Unwary that the coin from Mama’s skirts will save his life
The boy is healthy and strong, though not for long
His name is Gene, the second of three
Before Michal, after Richard
He is naïve, but soon to grow up prematurely

A prisoner holds his own shirt, unsure
Unaware of the pain that is coming
Unwary that he shall walk away nevermore
The prisoner is hurting and ******
His name is “Gefangene,” the second of two
After Richard, before the crimson mess
He is crying for a ****** towel carried by

A handicap clutches Mama’s leg
Aware that he cannot cry as she shuffles him out
Wary that outside her skirts is the hunt
The handicap is hurting so badly
His name is Gene, the second of three
After Richard, before the new bump
He is unwilling to believe

A kaleka holds tight to his brother’s back
Aware that he is a burden
Wary that he is a load
The kaleka is waiting, waiting.
His name is Gene, second of three
After Richard, before Theresa
The kaleka is ready for release

The dziecko holds again to Mama’s skirt
Aware that he is now free to leave
Wary that he will never be independent
The dziecko is elated and mourning
His name is Gene, the second of three
Before Theresa, after Richard
The dziecko will never be the same

Sixty five years later
Gene holds Rosie’s hand tight
Aware that he is old now, having lived fully
Wary that death is imminent at last
The great-grandfather is peaceful and content
His name is Tata, Grandpa, Gene, husband, and more
He is the last one left of his war
The survivor is ready to reunite with his family
He gives thanks to Hattie’s skirts
That kept him alive though the hurts.
Eugeneus Borowski is my great-grandfather, a child Holocaust victim. This piece is currently featured in the World War II poetry unit in the syllabus of a literature course offered through Northern Essex Community College. The only surviving first-hand account of Gene’s experience is a cassette tape of an interview he gave many years ago.
Kitt
Written by
Kitt  19/F/Maine
(19/F/Maine)   
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