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Fall/Winter 06/07 Edition
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Author: Deborah 'Tai-Li' Rey
Location: France

Deborah Rey (1938) was born in Amsterdam. From an early age she has worked in radio, television, publicity and the theatre, as a broadcaster, entertainer, scriptwriter, translator, editor, and actress. Today, retired, she finally has the time to be a full-time writer and editor, and lives at the French Atlantic coast with her husband, two dogs and five cats. Rey is recognised by the Dutch Foundation 1940-1945 as a participant in the Resistance during the German occupation of The Netherlands during World War II. Rachel Sarai's Vineyard (Merilang Press UK, September 2009) is her first novel and, like most of her poetry and prose, deals with WWII, child abuse, and the truth about a person's roots.

Free the Soul mit Arbeit

I stood in front of
the glass cage
filled with locks
of blond, grey,
black, brown hair
and searched and searched
for just one tiny curl
of hers.
Hers? It was long
and blond and stood out
like a lion's mane,
the same as she.
I searched but did not
find it.

I stood and stared
at thousands
and more
pairs of shoes;
big shoes
small shoes and
tiny little shoes,
and searched and searched
for hers. Hers?
Brown, sturdy,
flat-heeled, sporty and
larger than her normal size
cause of two pairs of socks
against the cold.
I did not find them.

I walked by the violins
and silver-handled
cause she left
those with me
that night.
To remember her by,
she said.
She had to leave,
hoped to escape, survive.
The violin and the mirror
were taken from me
and sold for a bowl
of potatoes, and she?
She was betrayed.

Arbeit macht Frei
it says at the entrance
gate to hell and
knowing her, she did.
Work hard, I mean,
hoping to be free, return to me.
It did not help her
very much, though, but
if death means freedom
and peace, she got it.
I, too, am working hard.
I work like hell, cause
Arbeit macht Frei
it still tells me
today, a sad reminder.

Until I find one lock
of hair, one shoe, one tiny
something to remember
her by, and also
the place where she,
her body,
was thrown into a cadaver
pit and doused with lye,
until I can kneel and kiss
the grass, and talk to her,
I'll work like hell to free
my soul.
Arbeit macht Frei?
It does not help me
very much, as yet.

Editor's Note: Arbeit macht frei is German for work brings freedom. This phrase appeared on signs at the entrance to Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. The signs can still be seen at Auschwitz, Dachau, Gross-Rosen, Sachsenhausen, and Theresienstadt.

Published simultaneously at www.subtletea.com

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