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Group on Way to Gas Chambers

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Group on Way to Gas Chambers

--Auschwitz, Picture Taken 26,000 Feet in the Air, August 25, 1944 

Years away from me, smoke opening for a man to name them. I imagine a child down there in 
the box being drawn around him, who hasn’t died yet; who just wants to fly, fly! His last weather, 
clear. Not seeing the plane that won’t see him. His mother grips his hand. People down there 
among the cold circuitry of buildings, people with no pictures in their future, scared, legs hurting, 
tired, hungry. What are they telling their children, look down, look down, don’t look up. Someone 
searching the crowd for someone going to the smoke away from them. It is happening again, as 
in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. The man pointing an arrow as if at a strain of bacteria, black 
words attached to the arrow. I look down into the dirt of the picture, years after the man has put 
the picture back into its folder. Someone down there who sees the smoke I can’t from my clean 
sky, a woman with my face, maybe, whose picture her beloved took as she smiled under an 
early tree in the days of gardens. Now all her pictures are gone. She is with everybody else 
down there, she is the Group on the Way to the Gas Chambers, and in those five black words, 
who down there knows they are history; what faceless face isn’t sure, tasting the ghost of honey 
and apples; who looks at the sky closing over with smoke and thinks there are shoes to fix, 
prayers to say in the archangel wings of their language; somewhere in a land

Beyond desolation.  	

Copyright © cathryn coonemccrary

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