Happy families are all alike, every unhappy

family is unhappy in its own way.

Leo Tolstoy

My family was just like other happy families

before mindless violence engulfed my world.

Soft words swept up by caressing winds

illuminate cherished moments of my distant past.

But then out of a farcical political campaign

(“The best lack all conviction,

while the worst

are full of passionate intensity.”)

words on fire flash echoes of Palinesque

rabble-rousing, scorching synapses in my cortex,

a ghostly chorus of “never again, never again” fades,

an ominous premonition of what’s to come.

I hear a rumble of Alaskan secessionists,

SS Runes sparkle in a frozen sun, all American

Einzatsgruppen loudly chant “Fairbanks uber alles.”

Smoldering embers stir, buried memories

that should have been forgotten are roused

under desiccated blanched-white bones.

In a bout of somaesthesia, Theresienstadt lice

crawl up and down my back; I covers ears

drowning out a locomotive’s screeching brakes,

hissing steam and deportation whistles.

Rottweilers bark and snarl lunging at a line

of shuffling shadows.

I watch little yellow stars of David float up over

barbed wire fences, taking their rightful place, an enduring

constellation in the stone-black darkness of a night sky.

Cold and shivering, too weak to get up and stop dreaming

I’m in a triple decker bunk bed.

Nauseous with dread there’s so much I don’t understand.