In which I discover many years later that I never did read my great-grandparents’ names in the book of Jews killed in concentration camps
I came to put my hand on the book.
I paid my entry fee and walked around
mainly to turn to that page and look
at my name in a long list of names
of Jews that Hitler put in the ground.
Memory betrays you though and later I found
that no one had said that they were dead –
they went but did not rot in that mound
of nameless corpses, they returned on the train,
shedding ‘victim’ and becoming survivors instead.
I don’t know what went wrong in my head:
was the book about those deported, not killed,
or did my eyes read things that were not really there?
Whatever that book says: they were not spared.
Their Theresienstadt graves were never filled
but there is more than one way of ending up dead.
Judith Kingston is a Dutch writer living in the UK. Her poems have been published in various online magazines such as Poets Reading the News, Barren Magazine, VampCat Magazine and Fly on the Wall Webzine. Besides writing, she translates, teaches and occasionally narrates audiobooks. Follow her on Twitter: @judithkingston and Instagram: @judith_kingston.