Note: You can listen to this poem on Podbean.

a lime pit had opened its mouth
and swallowed his mother
and all that he is left with are

of her face tattooed
inside his paper-thin eyelids

endless refrains of mother words
the d.j. in his mind respins them
respins them
she says:
“don’t forget your coat”

“watch out for your little brother”

“I love you”

in indelible ink
will outlast the Nazi numbers
tattooed upon his arm
you see

nothing can make you forget
blood running through veins
carrying building blocks reassembling
themselves into a brand new configuration
every time a new soul in your family
is birthed and
how much your building blocks look like your mother’s
look like your father’s
look like your brother’s
look like the faces staring out of the windows
of trains
carrying them away so that their blood
can run down a scrubbed half-tone gray hill of rocks
that cannot understand
just what that blood meant
and cannot hear
its screams – silent, the kind that
only Heaven
and ears that were pre-programmed to hear
blood calling from the ground can hear

the sky is singing above their heads
weeping yellow six-pointed stars
back down to earth for us to find
and if anybody ever tells you

that there were no trains
that there were no camps
there were no congregations of hollowed eyes
staring out of fences, peering
searching the horizons for Heaven
to come back down to earth
that there were no hearts crying
pleading for the chance to sit shiva
looking for outer garments to rend
but finding
that someone had already torn them
then look

for those yellow stars

the crackle of latkes plays in his head
as a backbeat to her mother refrains and
the melody of seder strains where
as a child, he would ask who he was
in five parts and every year
he would get his answers
spoken from the mouth
of the Haggadha

and if you question for a moment
wonder if the song in his head is real or if
history is a liar, then remember

a lime pit had opened its mouth
and swallowed his mother

Poem © 2009 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
Original Poem appears at:

2 Responses to Somewhere

  1. Jennifer Brisk says:

    I think your mind is wonderful, it ticks along lines familiar to me, i do not have a blog yet…i am thinking about it, I am a fellow poet

  2. Nicole, we all appreciate your generosity in making these available online to read for free. Please let me know if there is a “hard copy”; maybe we can trade, one of yours for mine, “Dance Groove Funhouse”? Let me know at sharplittlepencil at

    My daughter’s Oma was a Holocaust survivor. It informed every move of the entire family, including my former husband. The mention of indelible ink and tattoos sent a shiver up my spine. Masterful work. Amy BL

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