Tangles and Knots

By Lisa Paulick

How this prickly surge of fear bleeds into my nausea

Limping back to the ghetto like a three-legged dog before

Your father noticed me

What if there is not a next time?

I feel your kick that cannot be yet

My resilience popping up at unexpected moments

Fear, doubt, guilt – the trinity masquerading as bravado

Stop bombarding me with false promises

I cannot keep you

You cannot haunt me

You are

Vicious hissing

Of the waiting and the threat


I do not want to leave you

We are not worthless

What will you do after?


A corpse cannot give birth

You will not know stigma,

Starvation, exhaustion, the depth of


The best you can hope for is…



Your confession when you think

I am not watching you?



If I do not die with you, tell me which is the greater crime for children

Born under the star in what used to be Germany—death before life or living a drawn-out

Slave’s death?

When we share the same space again, we will be strong and whole

And you will have long forgiven me



This is one of four poems by Lisa Paulick featured in the gallery, honouring those that were lost, and survivors who had to make unimaginable choices. Lisa has read several books on the history of the Holocaust and the liberation of the camps and attended a survivors gathering four years ago in New York City.

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