I can still hear the click of clue tiles
when they opened and closed on the game board
and the smarmy voice of the 1960s
TV host when he called out the answer.
And I remember my family playing
the same game every summer in a cabin
by the sea, a few plastic pieces missing
like uncles lost in the concentration camps.
At night I would lie awake listening
to waves crash in the distance, wondering
how the word “concentration” fit with “camps,”
but the sea never whispered the answer.
All this matters to me now because I’m back
in that seaside cabin after one more game,
and the magazine on the table
lays opened to a photo of Jewish
musicians at a death camp playing flutes
and violins while standing ankle deep
in snow. The caption says their music
formed the background for beatings and torture
and gas chamber exterminations.
But when I try to make sense of this image,
try to imagine the Old Testament
God listening from Heaven and hearing screams
syncopated with Mozart’s melodies,
when I try to imagine the thoughts
of the Jews and the German prison guards,
I become a child again, my world
as safe as a board game, my parents
carrying me into the surf, holding tight,
floating us through the breaking waves.