The Liberation

Sharon H. Nelson

"The Liberation" appears in the section entitled Holocaust Poems in Blood Poems, published by Fiddlehead Poetry Books in 1978.

The Liberation

for Sima Gelbart

We are here and we are lonely
like a winter of lost trees
like the severed hands of thieves
we have bled so much no blood is left in us
and we turn black with flies.

We survived:
our shaved heads
lifted
finally
to a winter
sky.

I had become
the oldest sister then;
knew history, went
to the commandant, begged
a comb, a piece of soap.

His laugher
was raucous.
He saw
denuded head,
naked bones:
What need had I
for soap or comb?

Even an animal tried
to keep itself clean.

Sharon H. Nelson. 15 March 1999.