Memory Monster

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 

unceremoniously match 

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.