To Watch & To Witness

Written at Yad Vashem, 3/11/17

I see the child,

done crying its fill,


I see, but

I do not understand.

I watch my dog’s tail


and his tongue


the palm of my hand,

freshly bitten

from grazing a

sore spot on his side

out of

fear, pain, sorrow —

I saw the grace of my



the flashing source of his


and then become


that grace.

I saw, but

I did not understand.

My friendships smile

sprout, grow, and flower

through the pain they know —

out of

hope, warmth, love.

this pain hides

underneath that smile —

this gloom survives

inside that laugh —

this trauma squats

behind those eyes —

but love exists

dormant perhaps

but there

deeper down within.

I try to mouth the words

I mean to say —

lips quiver

breaths quake

eyes slip aside —


and only idle air

glides by;

but see,

become the witness

to those wandered yearnings,

and learn

at last

to understand.