Once there was carefree laughter
red sandals worn on a summer day
your hopes and dreams for the future in your heart
Your daughter by your side
You carefully painted your names on your suitcases
and packed your best things
laughter lines over printed with fear and anguish
herded into the train for an endless journey of perpetual night
no sleep through the tormented groans, the stench, the thirst
Out onto a platform, exhausted crowds pushing and shoving to avoid the blows, the dogs
A selection – work or death
You hurry your daughter onwards.
A shower would be welcome after the endless journey
hang your clothes on the hook as directed, so you can find them again
You choke, you suffocate
your hopes and dreams for the future turned to ashes
Your daughter in your arms.
Nearly seventy years later your red sandals still shine out
from the piles of shoes brown with age.
10 October 2012