A New Beginning

Entry by: Seth Dinario

7th July 2017
The savage click-clack of rails
Served as background music
To the stifling carriages
We found ourselves in.

Cowed, cornered, crushed;
Stench of fecal matter
Underlay the main fear:
Where were we going?

Even strong men succumbed
On that torturous journey
But given what came later
It might have been a blessing.

‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ I glimpsed
Wrought like some black curse
Over our passing heads
Bowed, but not in benediction.

Welcomed by thin slop;
Unspeakable taste but
Preferable, just, to death
By refusal and starvation.

I clung on to my friend
Reassured by her touch
Until one bleak evening
She did not return to us.

Days frayed with fatigue
Gut-ache and worry
Husband, children, old life
Dead, gone, buried.

I grew cunning
Not to acquire power or achieve
Some long-held goal, but to
Survive, merely to survive.

As the friendly enemy
Brought salvation closer
Commanders panicked;
Increased their dirty work.

Towards the end
Barrowloads of us
Disappeared as smoke
Into the blood-red sky.

The deity I sense no more
Arranged my survival
Numbed, beaten, broken.
I will show them what freedom means.