Abraham Sutzkever

(1913 - 2010 / Smorgon, Russian Empire)

Ashamed


Among us they wander, the ashamed,
Their number
Seared in their arm
With red coal of hell.
No one wants to see it,
Seared in terror,
As a hump will not see its own shadow.

See, among us they wander, the ashamed,
Small, thin,
Hiding their shame in a cave, in a ruin.
Thank God, from their gums
No one has yet
Sucked their drop of hatred.

But once, in shameless night,
When the ashamed lie
With eyes green like cabbage in Maidanek —
The number alone,
Cutting patience,
Tears away from their skin
Like a melody —
Hovers into the palace
Where a butcher dance is performed
By a freshly lunatic Belshazar.

1951

Submitted: Monday, July 21, 2014
Edited: Monday, July 21, 2014

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