JAPANESE DIPLOMAT CHIUNE SUGIHARA ISSUING VISAS TO JEWISH REFUGEES FLEEING THE GERMANS, AUGUST, 1940 / PAUL DAVID ADKINS

 

I am signing the visas.
All other duties are hereby deferred:

tracking Russian troop movements,
the shift of German divisions,
British naval traffic
spanning the Baltic Sea.

My bosses can wait.

I am busy

signing the visas
for Solly Ganor
and Jacob Gostinski
and the widow who wept
at the gate with my wife.

Into the night –
thick curtains drawn,
and smoke of the lamplight
burning my eyes

On the dark street outside,
I hear mumbling and shuffling
of the hundreds

waiting for visas.

I crack my knuckles
like egg after egg
over visas.

My wife massages my fingers
for the sake

of signing the visas
for Aron Hodys
and Chaim Zandman.

My wife must ferry in sandwiches.

It aggravates me
to relieve myself.
I carry the visas
into the privy.

I rest my head on a blotter,
the ache of my forearms a pillow.

I dream carbon and ink,
the Imperial Seal impressed
on the onion skin page
of each visa.

I wake in an hour
for the sake of the children
of Izak Mitvalsky
and Mordechai Manczyk.

My thighs cramp beneath the desk,
knees shake with the effort
of standing

to pass the night’s work
to the hands of a man
who will call forth the men in the morning

whose black names are pressed
like ancient roses
between the leather bound sheets

of the visas.

 

 

 

Paul David Adkins, raised in South Florida, now lives in New York.

Tagged

One thought on “JAPANESE DIPLOMAT CHIUNE SUGIHARA ISSUING VISAS TO JEWISH REFUGEES FLEEING THE GERMANS, AUGUST, 1940 / PAUL DAVID ADKINS

  1. Pingback: #1 «

give some lovin'

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s