Not even a whirlwind Could un-light this memorial Lists of lists of lists of lists of lists of lists Names on a roster Names on a wall Names in the notebook Read one by one Their place of birth Their age, if known
Their mothers and fathers who named them who cherished their ever being
Their names slip from the list to my lips and they are the flame the uprising the hope of the forgotten
Not even a whirlwind cyclone of hate sprayed fear epidemics could un-light these flames
Lists of lists of names of names They were two, just walking They were fourteen and alive They were you They were us They were three, full of language They were six, reading books They were babies in arms They were ten, all in giggles They were eight. They were eight, like my son
A light for these children A light for these mothers A light for these fathers A light for the unnamed A light for the grievers A light for survivors A light for the saviors A light for the haters and healers and uprisers A light for the life we all might have known
Had these children grown and delighted our senses
Would I have been born My family tree broken With hidings and lyings and ship born disguises if not for the failure to eradicate all? We are immigrants, all.
Could I announce them now? Announcing and pronouncing them lists of lists of lists of lists of names and names I could read them and say them Announcing diplomas Merit deserved A spotlight on stage A marriage vow A piano recital A honorary guest at our table tonight. A whirlwind can never blow out this light.