In the sixth grade, Sister Jane Leo showed a film
about the Holocaust. At recess, I kept looking
at my hand. I couldn’t stop my thoughts about the tips
of fingers poking from the ground as a dozer pushed
a wave of dirt over it. No one parted the earth
to give a helping hand as the dust slowly settled.
After school, I walked onto the dock and laid belly down
on its wood planks. As the lake air chilled me,
I pictured a boxcar of cloth stars, pinned on shoulders
in the shadows. Drawing circles in the lake,
I watched the ripples form a water-ring chain
and smelled spring, rising along the shore.
Between the beach and me, one bluegill guarded
its saucer-like nest of stones. Beneath me swam
a few striped perch. Orbiting the dock’s drum pillars,
a school of sunfish flashed their orange bellies.
I was about to slap the water when a pike
shot out from the lake’s depth.
It scattered the perch, sunfish, and bluegill.
Without names to be remembered by,
they swam forward then backward.
In their voiceless frenzy, their cries went unheard
as they milled defenseless without hands.
Joe Milosch graduated from San Diego State University. His poetry has appeared in various magazines, including the California Quarterly. He has multiple nominations for the Pushcart and received the Hackney Award for Literature. His books: The Lost Pilgrimage Poems and Landscape of a Hummingbird, were published by Poetic Matrix Press.