The Dark Place Under the Stairs

In the main hospital at Terezin concentration camp, the dead bodies were stacked in a dark closet under the stairs, awaiting transport to the Crematorium.  The young boys had a game they played . . .


The Dark Place Under the Stairs

They put the bodies there,
the dead ones,
in the dark place under the stairs,
To wait their turn
in the crematorium.
No sheet for the dead, nor urn
for the burned.
Naked, whether flesh or ash.
We played games with them,
the dead, we kids.
Creeping in the dark,
hands outstretched,
to keep the dead we had to touch away.
Touching cold and waxen lips and lids,
not a game for young boys to play,
but it was Terezin, after all,
with little else to pass the day.

© 10 August 2017, Walter William Melnyk

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