Arbeit Macht Frei

Steel wheels awaken me

sweat, pine, pitch, dirt and fear assail

mumblings, murmurs, and a baby's cry

and from the crowd "Where am I?"

Slats on a sliding door strains sunlight

dust and grime a mist-like viel

hour upon hour a painful, unending ride

steady rocking of our despised cradle.

I watch the shoes, so many I have made

fine leather and hobnail too

banker, tailer, onion seller, rich and poor

side by side by side, David's few.

Young mother, frightfully clutching her love

worries at how she'll find who has gone before.

So an apple, mouldy bread and a smile we share

and two young hearts rest while I watch a little more.

Some softly sing a sad and ancient song

the train slows, tracks curve, death's welcome.

"Arbeit Macht Frei", -- work brings freedom

at our journey's end at the cerebus gates of Auschwitz.

The End

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