Crawl Space

for Mietek Pemper and all other brave Holocaust survivors

By Megan Walters

an office only has so many spaces. there are too many staplers and cigarette whispers and paper cuts; there are too few places to put them.     i’ve heard typewriter keys can leave stains on fingers, this charcoal gray powder thick like ghosts before they are ghosts. i’ve heard there are nerves jumping and electric, this unshakeable shaking. i’ve heard    there are entire worlds of oxymorons and i am sorry you’ve had to live there.

land of the constant trembling knee, the incessant silence,             a foot almost tapping beneath       desk  —  the incessant silence and the way people    can turn bulletproof without vests, numb to the origami of a body’s crumpling shape, those tissue paper limbs breathing out red, soft red, merciless red like cherries attached to too thin stems        always on an edge of connection.

i wish you a grove of trees         that does not let their fruit fall. i wish you an office that never runs out of room for names. i wish you a thank you and a thank you and a thanks. i wish a future in which mercy does not need to hide in desk drawers, in sore typing fingers, in a quaking that          could leave the strongest existence