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Lay Your Head Against Your Deathbed - Holocaust Poem

Lay Your Head Against Your Deathbed - Holocaust Poem

Lay Your Head Against Your Deathbed
From Selene Bruk's Holocaust testimony


My love, open your eyes as we close the door.
We are 40, but the Nazis are more.
While hidden safely in this room,
The frigid air our lungs consume.

I hold you in my arms, kochanie.
Do not cry, my love, just look at me.

Look, for the Nazis cannot see us.
Look, for our eyes are filled with fear.
Look, for I will keep you safe.
Look, for I love you.

They hand me a pillow, saying "a baby's too risky."
Do not cry, my love, please listen to me.

Listen, for the Nazis cannot hear us.
Listen, for my heart pounds for us both.
Listen, for I cannot keep you safe.
Listen, for I love you.

I realize it's a war between being captured or free.
Do not cry, my love, but feel me.

Feel, for my tears fall onto your face.
Feel, for this pillow must keep you silent.
Feel, for I must not keep you safe.

Feel, for I love you.

A pillow to your face, you cannot see.
Do not breathe, my love, and leave me.

Leave, for Poland has been taken.
Leave, for mothers must hurt their babes.
Leave, for I could not keep you safe.
Leave, for I love you.

The soldiers are gone, your death is to be.

I will not cry, my love, so remember me.

Remember, as the Nazis leave.
Remember, as I cradle your body.
Remember, as I had to keep us safe.
Remember, as I loved you.

My love, close your eyes as we open the door.
We are 39, and we have lost more.
While hidden, broken, in this room,
The maddening grief my mind will consume.


Catherine is a high school junior in Southern California who enjoys candle-lit dinners in foreign restaurants, long walks in new countries, building friendships, making Oscar-worthy Youtube videos, and, of course, writing. As the editor of Arts & Entertainment for her school's newspaper and a journalist for the LA Times's High School Insider, Catherine lives in an ideal world of words and diverse student culture that is absolutely (well, almost) devoid of math (and other soul-sucking things).



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