The Persistence of Documents
Documents line the walls.
Relics of wars.
Not the stuff of history books, something sadder,
the stories of lives of brokenness,
victims of battles no one wished to fight,
the names redacted,
the stories intact.
Best hidden away.
Best to live with eyes shut,
a great pretending, like Adam and Eve
sporting new fig leaves,
like Germans outside the camps,
like Dorian Gray on the wall,
we pretend no one can see our sins
as the flames dance around us
until only ashes remain.
Ashes, and the documents.
For the documents always remain.
Our sins find their way to surface, sure as seeds,
they become history. They become art.
They become us.
About this poem
Inspired by an exhibit at Mass MoCA, and current events and a National Geographic documentary on the last days of Nazi Germany. Poetry can be a wicked stew.