In the stillness of a teacup morning
in Amsterdam a crowd with yellow stars
query each other, a collapse of
suitcases and stuffed pillow cases
huddled under a gas lamp at a corner square,
while those in the stories above slowly turn away.
A few days before the yellow stars were
twenty-one children with backpacks
dreaming of a long field trip to Deventer.
The school picture they posed for would
be discovered fifty-four years later
under the frame of an oil painting
of the freedom monument in Dam Square.
Sieg, wandering in the fog of Bergen-Belsen
his classmates part of the mound
of George Rodgers well published frieze,
the only one of them not camera shy,
made it back to his mother and sister,
forever now a New York Jew.
Before them the square hosted
the frail bones of yellow star seniors,
their children depositing them
silently and hurriedly under
the hiss of the lamp shutting
off from the night watch.
Daan sewed the photo
of his yellow star grootmoeder
on a wooden chair staring into the sun
into the lining of his jacket
and felt its pressure on the day
when the train arrived for him too.
The freight train to the Westbrook stockyard
the stench of manure, piss, fetid hay,
the old scent of cattle mingling with man,
fear embedded in every board,
was, as always, on time.