3 Unforgotten Remembrances

by Martha Rand


I watch my body



broken knees,



I watch my body


from the ceiling view.


This was before

I learned yoga's

child pose of relaxation.


Frozen. Surviving.

Surveillance was

an early skill my body learned.


A useful skill.


immobility.  Better than


the other possibility

 of being

smothered for the crime


of inconvenient

whooping cough.

Infidel body!


Or the uncontrollable option

of my throat

being slit.  Aye!


I don't, can't want,

yet, remember feeling

the cold.


Steel, sharp, slender blade

slid silently.

Music pulsed, quietly, in the room. 


Neither do I


feeling her embrace.


I know it happened.


my body at that moment


Seemed to dissolve,


what I didn't want to fit.


Like I keep forgetting

to return

those jackets that don't fit


to Bloomingdales.

I love the privacy

of fitting rooms.


No longer do

I frequent

the large open spaces


of cheap department stores.


where other's slyly eye me.


Some things I no longer


to endure.


I never learned to ski


my body's integrity


gave me important reason

to dance, to climb,

to stand and clearly see.






Visiting in Paris


My husband has a cousin

who lives in France.

He's once removed,

a generation older.

Or twice removed

if you count his deportation

to the children's camp.

called Buchenwald.

Jacques Zylbermine might have been forgotten

along with many others.


I cannot forget.

Passover at the age of twelve,

the first year I was a woman.

After dinner, in the kitchen I

joined the other women

washing, drying dishes at my Aunt's.

In an apartment on the Grand Concourse,

many women spoke

 with many European

accents.  One blonde woman

rolled her sleeve up to reach

into the sink's full soapsudsy

dish bath.


My eyes were shocked,

my pupils unblinkingly stilled

by the black tattoo-ed numbers

I never suspected,

I never knew. 





My Years of Magical Thinking


Dear Joan,


I understand

what it is

to tell

and retell

and tell again.


To tell the same story,

that is not a story,

that is the truth,

to tell

and retell

and tell again.



to believe,

trying to believe

the truth I tell

and retell

and tell again.


To believe the story happened,

to ask others to join in my belief,

to listen and tell me back.

Retell to me,

and tell again

the truth you've told

that I've told you

like you believe it, too.