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sometimes I go back to the
candy store on Broadway to
see the old man with numbers

on his forearm who tried explaining
how he was ripped from his mother’s
arms beneath a moon lit sky and taken

to a place to weep, to starve, to see many
only find death at the end of the
tunnel, not light. he always whispered

of this hell he preferred to forget but
the disfigured faces begging for life
would always visit him in dreams and

even demand a hearing at the counter
where he served children like me scoops
of ice cream in a soda glass. after all

these years, I go back to sit with him
for hours wailing of the world turned
upside down, watching his face display

the wretched whose lives were shortened
settle for witness on his wounds. what I
would not give for a better world to give

this old man whose home remains now a
drifting cloud wrapped in night that will
not turn.

h.j. Recinos

 

Harold Recinos is Professor of Church and Society at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Since the early-1980s, Harold Recinos has worked with the Salvadoran refugee community and with marginal communities in El Salvador for social justice. As a Latin American theologian of liberation, Recinos has felt a deep affinity for the Anabaptist tradition of taking up the cause of those who know too well the condition of oppressed-suffering. The poem Yom Ha’Shoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) was written to remind Christians that if they wish to live a life awake in the gospel they must remain close to human suffering.