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.