Auschwitz 1940-1945


Daily, they left the trains, marched inside.

Each face was photographed, each head shaved.

Some slept on moldered straw, others stood

all night in a three-foot-square closet.

One million, one hundred thousand of them.


Artifacts remain: abandoned prostheses, eyeglasses,

remnants of thick braided hair, shoes with tongues out

thirsting for freedom, suitcases scrawled with their names,

a single memorial urn of ashes.


The rusted gate’s sign still says “Work Makes You Free”

and Despair still hangs on the abandoned gallows.

Their charred flesh is gone, but they are here,

their spirits urging:





Gail Eisenhart‘s poems can be found in The Centrifugal Eye, You Must Remember This,  Adanna Journal, The Tishman Review, and in Flood Stage: an anthology of St. Louis Poets. A retired Executive Assistant, she works part time at the Belleville (Illinois) Public Library and travels in her spare time collecting memories that usually show up in new poems.