AUSCHWITZ PRISONER PHOTO FOUND IN
I say he survived: I hold his picture,
a standing-up skeleton wearing skin
but no other fabric, the bones of shins,
the shock of the naked pelvic spot.
A rectangle ribcage converges from curves,
pours his fluid through pumping aorta.
He stands, a target exposed and plain.
A wire fences the background camp.
Maybe his smile’s not a smile, but a grimace:
a muscle pulled taut with cat-gut stitches.
Maybe a GI found the film, no naked
bone of man in sight, floating the Polish
air as ashes, burned before the jeep arrived.
But I choose to believe he’s alive.
A dead man would lie on arid ground,
while a living man casts a rod of shade.
His shadow trapped in dry emulsion
spikes from his feet past lovely arms.
Jeanne DeLarm-Neri’s poems and fiction have been published in several journals and two anthologies. One poem was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned an MFA in 2012 from Fairfield University, and has attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference for 2014 and 2015 as well as the West Chester Poetry Conference in 2014. She resides in Connecticut with her husband and accepts visits from their grown-up children.