Iris Watches The Holocaust Film
by John Grey

Iris associates black and white with pain.

The past can't help itself.

It's either raining or snowing.

Sunlight hides, afraid of being

discovered by the soldiers.

There are specks on the film

like grit in the memory.


Her heart loses altitude

at the sight of rivers, bridges, buildings,

all made of shadows,

half-lit by bleached flames

from the ghetto.


A close-up of a little girl

expands her eyes to saucer size.

"That could be me," whispers Iris.

There are people toting baggage,

prized possessions.

Women wear plain dresses, babushkas.

Men fill out their only coats

for the last time.

"My family," she says.

She knows they're not

but they may as well be.


The SS smile for the cameras.

Their shepherd dogs growl.

At the railway siding,

the camera cranks slow.

Like a silent comedy,

prisoners board train cars

at a furious, inhuman pace.

Iris doesn't laugh.

But, then again,

when does she laugh?


Tracks glisten

as if steel is the new flesh.

Bodies squeeze together

as if people are the old cattle.


You were six years of age then, Iris.

And you were guilty as charged.


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