The memory monster haunted Mavette on the
platform, the gym, pass the graveyard,
scolding her for leaving the tiniest
remains of food on her plate, scourged
her for reading that dirty Jew, Levi.
The swastikas chased her in her dreams.
In her hole in the earth the dogs and
stamping black boots would pass over her.
She lived with that history everyday,
escorting curious, mournful tourists
through the remnants of Auschwitz.
She knew all the ways of death, could
recite the roll of who died and lived
over, over until the loop was her life.
Her sister in Detroit would receive
a postcard from her every week
with the name of a Jew gassed
and a list of their left overs
that were burnt or sold during
that particular time of the war.
Her sister never wrote back
and sick of receiving this
unsolicited perversion and
emotional vomit would
every neatly written note.
Today a bunch of high school girls
were pleading with Mavette
to put them into the chamber
and turn on the gas for they
all wanted a great TikTok moment.
Mavette was tempted but
that was never allowed and
the echoes of their laughter
followed her and ruptured
into a migraine by shift’s end.
The next day, a squad of Israeli soldiers,
in a moment of exposed reflection
after crying and singing the Hatikvah
whispered to each other
“That’s what we should do to the Arabs.”
She was only a little ashamed
to share their thoughts,
these children and young men,
enraptured by the practical thinking
of those exposed to the simple,
recreatable reality of the
Nazi killing mechanism.
The next day she did not rebuke
the teenage boy in the brown shirt
who said: “In order to survive
we must become a little Nazi too.”
For once she wanted to escape
her hole in the ground and
be the one with the dogs and guns,
be the one with all the power.
if she could not escape death in her dreams
she could live by becoming death in them.
Mavette, the Angel of Death— the idea
comforted her nightmares and dreams.
And she took her gun and
locked herself inside the chamber and
asked those outside to turn on the gas.