The following poem was written in response to The Chronicle’s July 7 article, “A powerful voice for the finest of Jewish values,” on the death of Elie Wiesel:
for Elie Wiesel
He was witness.
This upright man,
skin branded with blue numbers,
blue numbers like my friend’s father
on his hairy forearm,
his sleeves always rolled up, daring
us to look.
Numbers faded to a soft blue
the color of an infant’s blanket.
Sometimes my friend’s father ran his fingers over them.
He was just her dad.
I was 13, had just celebrated my bat mitzvah,
one of the first group of girls allowed
this honor at my synagogue
Three years later I read “Night”
old enough to be shocked,
old enough to understand,
old enough to be told
never forget, never forget.
He was our witness,
Our collective memory housed
in a body, a brain unbeaten by