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Six Poems by Gail Peck
Gail Peck writes, All of these six poems will be included in the new
manuscript I am currently working on.  It is tentatively titled “Counting
the Lost Children.”  After my last book of poetry, I challenged myself to
write poems based on works of art, and not be solely dependent upon
autobiography.  However, since I know the power of memory and
personal experience, I wanted to include poems that are
autobiographical, in part or in whole.  My stepfather was in the Army,
and stationed in Berlin during 1957-1960.  While I was too young to
absorb all the history of Berlin at that time, it later became an abiding
interest for me, and seems now to have found its natural place in my
work.   
   
Rest
As close as I’ll get to the past—this face tilted,
eyes closed, one small hand clutching a shroud—
reminding me of you.  I thought I wanted to be there
when you were dying, the nurse saying
on the phone your son ran from the room
refusing to sign you over to the next world,
and your past lover telling me,
It isn’t pretty,
what’s happened to your sister
.  I’d already seen
what alcohol had done, an image
in the mirror you wouldn’t own up to.  When
you were small and we lived in Germany you’d
come frightened to my bed, restless, arms and legs
thrown over me.  I’d dream of a crushing weight.
It was there that my stepfather, your real father,
first lashed his belt against your six-year-old body.
Afterward I’d pull on your boots and jacket, take you
out in the snow.  The rest of your life you’d live
where it was warm, never needing a coat.    
Now, what does it matter that I don’t know
if you are ashes strewn over your garden?
I can only return you to beauty.
After Käthe Kollwitz, Rest in the Peace of
His Hands
, relief for a grave
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Six Poems by Gail Peck

Table of Contents

1.  Lullaby

2. One, For Praise

3. Prams at Auschwitz

4. Rest

5.
The Goblets

6. Woman Reflecting

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