A Cancer Patient Visits Auschwitz
So many ways of setting specific sorrow
Against some monstrous tragedy.
Look on this map of Europe, where a stain’s spreading
Over its once safe towns and fields.
Over the white seeps grey, and where plague is most foul
Blackest lesions have inked the land:
Dark blots of death.
My body is a map when, on the screen, I see
The grey and black seep steadily,
Relentlessly, into the white regions, once safe
And strong and healthy. Long ago
I watched my baby grow on such a screen. I know
We’re all formed both of good and bad
Mashed, botched and ditched.
Let us not be dazzled by the bright white acres;
Let us not be blind to evil.
It metastasised from Oslo to Salonika,
Its black cells rotting Poland’s flesh.
My little grief is tiny in comparison. Just think:
For each of us a railway line
And we must walk along it. In the far distance
Who knows what beast hunches, waiting.
But my view of that ending point,
Though growing darker,