numinousmagazine

Steve Castro

In Issue 7 on July 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm

A photograph, 2005

“And I know one thing more – that the Europe of the future cannot
exist without commemorating all those, regardless of their
nationality, who were killed at that time with complete contempt and
hate, who were tortured to death, starved, gassed, incinerated and
hanged …”
Andrzej Szczypiorski / Prisoner of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.

The Chamber of the Holocaust

Walking in the afternoon sun
Along Mount Zion in Jerusalem,
Led us to a small Holocaust Museum
Right across from King David’s Tomb.

Once inside, I took a picture of an exhibit
Encased in glass titled: Jacket of Desecration.
The jacket was sewn entirely out of
Torah Parchments. The Hebrew
Writings on both sleeves were horizontal
And the writings on the front side of the jacket
Were all vertical, the back of it was not visible.

A Nazi officer had forced a Jewish tailor
To sew him a jacket out of the sacred
Hebraic scrolls so he could wear it to a ball
In order to ridicule the Jewish people.
It was the officer’s way of blaspheming their faith.
But the Jewish tailor was wise.
That jacket was composed entirely out of
The Torah’s curses against God’s enemies,
So the Nazi officer was a walking curse and he
Did not know it because he couldn’t understand Hebrew.

Every time I look / at the photograph I took / I picture
The officer in my mind and think:

“You carried countless curses on your shoulders
When you lived / I wonder if your eternal soul
Lives in agony, cursing its flesh for having existed.”

****

Steve Castro has had poems published in Grey Sparrow Journal, Everyday Genius, Underground Voices, Splash of Red, ASKEW, Chiricú, Snow Jewel (Grey Sparrow Press), Divine Dirt Quarterly, The Caterpillar Chronicles, Andar21 (Galiza / Galicia, Spain) and Phantom Kangaroo. They are forthcoming in Cricket Online Review. His flash fiction can be found in This Great Society.

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