Death is circling in on me
with cold, dread wings.
I am standing in an open field
where the wheat has been razed
seeing only bare trees in winter.
There are the open fields of Bergen-Belsen
where the past lingers.
My shaved head a razed stubble---
I can feel the strange fear
of watching death, a quiet bird fly
into my hand.
I know the numbness that feels the
pulse of the trigger----
and the easy smell of death.
Still I wander the open fields,
my hand caressing the stubble of my hair.
I gaze at the many images of myself--
Death is still heavy upon me -- dark bird---
oppressive cream -- it mauls me
halfway to stasis already, its rousing breath
crushing life away.
And the dark stubble of my hair
like the field in Belsen
and the sadness, deep and lasting
of finding only empty spaces there.
Rita Cummings (1989)