‘One Photograph’ is a hauntingly beautiful poem which reminds us about how the Holocaust is made up of micro individual stories. In this case it is about a mother and a daughter. Grief is invoked within the reader through a sad reimagination of what happened to individuals in the extermination camps. In this way the reader is able to fully grasp the horror of it all.
‘One Photograph’ was written by Jennifer Franklin (photo below) who graduated from Brown and Columbia. Her full-length collection, Looming, was published by Elixir Press in 2015. Her poetry has appeared in Blackbird, Boston Review, Gettysburg Review, Guernica, The Nation, The Paris Review, poets.org, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, Salmagundi, Southwest Review, and Verse Daily. Franklin is co-editor of Slapering Hol Press and she teaches poetry workshops at The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center and lives in New York City.
—after The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau
by Ann Weiss
They hold nothing but each other. Fixed
like this forever, mother and daughter—
their love survives: testament to life before
God’s great silence. No one alive knows
their names or will. Maybe it is wrong for me
to mourn them. But I put what remains in a small
pewter frame next to my dead grandmother
and her sister. When you rest your hands
on my shoulders, I think of them—the mother
in her housecoat, blossoming roses, the girl
in her swimsuit, tummy round and innocent.
In the cold cattle car, they had no nest but each
other. Human cries around them drowned out
owls in autumn, smothered everything but
stars that watched them suffer. I hope
they were together when they died—that
their eyes were the last of what they saw
in this fallen world. Even in the thick darkness
of my living room, I see them: embracing,
always almost kissing