On Holocaust Memorial Day,
I stand on a white bridge over
the white city and hold my hands
up to my eyes to block the sun. I pinch
the cars between my fingers as the war
sirens begin to sing. The cars stop,
the people stand on the dirt
at the side of the road. They dip
their heads, and try to remember
not to whisper. I recognize them.
The man from the corner store sold me hash wedged in hiswallet.
The woman cried from the bathroom stall that God would protect his people.
The beggar asked me if I wanted to transmit energy through his hands.
All year everyone imitates a desert
tree by staying thin and rough,
and by pushing against the wind.
But today, for one minute, they try
to soften, and to imagine six million
voices that were silenced. But all
they can think of is water.
They are nothing without it,
and they must suck the ground dry.
The soldier showed me his gun with three white marks for men he had killed.
The Bedouin picked me up on a street corner and fed me burnt bread.
The American kissed the Holy Land, and dirt stuck to his lips.
For one minute, no cars race
through the sand, no sirens cut
through the voices. No God
tells a people to live and die
and kill and give birth. The Holy
Land is silent, open desert again.
And perhaps only the eye of a small,
red flower pushes from the dust,
reads our lips, and judges us.
—Margaret Stoner (Marion County)
Margaret Stoner has a B.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She currently works as the marketing and media director for Jacobs Parts Inc., a consumer electronics company. Her work has appeared in Lumina, genesis, and Rio Grande Review. *