Body Art

A Poem by Donal Mahoney

High noon this winter day
and blackbirds fill
the bare branches

of my dead neighbor’s tree.
Max would have loved these birds;
they’re as raucous as he was,

bobbing and clucking
as if they’re debating
where to fly next.

Suddenly they know
and shoot from the tree.
They’re gone but I shout

“Godspeed!” anyway
in behalf of old Max,
immigrant from Auschwitz.

He may be dead but
the numbers on his forearm
glow in my dreams.

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