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For Feiga Maler, 1919–42, who died in the Kraków Ghetto


silence pares my lips

night kneading daybreak

doeskin of a childless dawn

clouds pacing like caged animals

I mourn again my wrong belief

that evil can ignite the arrival of good

mourning that becomes an alleyway

to prayers flown like flags

lowered to half-staff

to a satin grieving

I study the language of her bones

somewhere they are singing

the dirge of my aunt’s missing body

but where does her body reside

her death stumbling through me



Yerra Sugarman’s third collection of poems, Aunt Bird, is forthcoming from Four Way Books. Her work has appeared or will appear in Ploughshares, Colorado Review, The Nation, Agni, New England Review, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City.




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