In 1944, studies were conducted

at the Dachau concentration camp

to make seawater drinkable.

It never was. The sick Gypsies

so thin and dehydrated

from thirst. Observant staff

took notes watching the prisoners

crawl the fresh-mopped floors

to lick up the wet.


I called my Opa once in 1994

some years after my mother died

to confront him for what he did.

I never could. In broken German

I deciphered my Oma was dead.

Bad heart, he offered in static

overseas. I love you. Come home

to me. And I believed him all over

again. I will try, I wept.




Tammy Robacker won the 2015 Keystone Chapbook Prize for her manuscript, R. Her second poetry book Villain Songs is forthcoming with ELJ Publications in 2016. Tammy published her first collection of poetry, The Vicissitudes, in 2009 (Pearle Publications). Tammy’s poetry has appeared in Arsenic Lobster, Menacing Hedge, Chiron Review, VoiceCatcher, Duende, So to Speak, Crab Creek Review, WomenArts, and Up the Staircase Quarterly. Currently enrolled in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program in Creative Writing at Pacific Lutheran University, Tammy lives in Oregon. www.tammyrobacker.com.