IN THE NEXT CENTURY

We traveled half way around the world
and met like two old friends
taking refuge in this crevice
where humanity
was the entity we were a part of,
apart from.

We drank hard
not to forget
but because we were too young to fear.

Entering dance rooms spilling out of rims
pulpy with dark faces
sloppy mouths open with laughter
contours of breasts and hands
and sprawled tongues trembling
above heaving shoulders
in the light of spouting flames
rushing upward
upward
where we faced shamed by silence.

And when you dropped words clumsily
I collected them for you
for the next time we meet
in the middle of the next century
not as foreigners with strange accents
but as friends
as we were
before you told me
with a reddening face
that your grandparents
worked the Auschwitz ovens.

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