Neat millions of pairs of abandoned shoes
Creased with mute presence of those whose
Faces both stare and vanish. Which ghetto?
Warsaw, Vilna, Lodz, Riga, Kovno.
Eight hundred dark-eyed girls from Salonica
Bony and sag-breasted singing the Hatikvah
Tread the barefoot floor to a shower-room.
Friedländer, Berenstein, Menashe, Blum.
Each someone’s fondled face. A named few.
Did they hold hands the moment they knew?
I’ll change their shame to praise and renown in all
The earth… Always each face and shoeless footfall
A breathing memory behind the gossamer wall.