for Bella Ouziel, June 25, 2014
In Ohio, she told her children her arm
tattoo was a phone number that she must
not forget, concerned the truth would alarm
and confuse them. If that betrayed their trust,
so be it; they’d learn her story soon enough.
At Auschwitz, her legs had led her to the trash
where sneering guards would congregate to laugh
as she would gobble rotten scraps they’d stashed.
Of her family from Thessalonica,
only she survived. Seven decades
later, she’s at home in America.
But neither ink nor memory fades.
Today she whispers in a microphone
and dials that number so the names live on.