Ilyse Kusnetz

Archival Footage

Bodies piled like lumber, tottering bodies
withered to bone, lampshades fashioned
of human skin, some displaying tattoos;
shrunken-head paperweights, bisected
heads preserved, suspended in
transparent resin, to better view the Jew brain.
Local townspeople trucked in. Now you can’t
tell the world you didn’t know.
One woman
presses a handkerchief to mouth and nose,
a man dizzily cradles his chin. Look closely.
You can see history rooting in their bodies,
the horror of it pulling out their tongues.

Ilyse Kusnetz
“Archival Footage” first appeared in Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Issue II: Volume III, October 2011.