Don’t take pictures, they advised me
before the trip, Let it overcome you,
carry you away.
Prayer shawls hung
in the display cases, unreal,
Approach with reverence,
I would hear.
It was fun, said a student from the States
at the exit, while the lens was retracting
into her cameras body
The brightness of spotlights bloomed on the glass:
behind it were tons of human hair.
On the way home, a djevuška is kissing me, she’s a guide
at the complex, then I feel the dust
coming off of our clothes and skin, taking over our apartment.
Write about it, says an acquaintance, it’s
a good motif.
Under the lights, not one particle
is sparkling, nothing: behind the glass
facade suitcases jostle.
Carriers’ special discounts
on return tickets from Oswiecim.
The mountain of shoes in that vacuum
would vanish with one step.
Those soles never wore out.
In that small town I had no choice
but to read about the Holocaust.
Now I live in Krakow, there are
souvenirs everywhere. I won’t talk about Auschwitz. When
I think of my homeland, I fall silent.
Translated into English by Ivana Rogar