It’s not the numbers that chill –
they’re too big to make sense.
Nor the screamed imaginings when you stand in these places,
Not the pitifully twisted spectacles, nor shoes’ polished leather worn soft over bunions.
Not dead smile denture mountain.
Not returning birds’ lament for the lost.
They aren’t the worst.
The horror lies in a paperclip,
one of many in a jar,
that sat on a desk,
one of many in an office,
where the secretary,
one of many in a department,
typed the orders.
The efficient administration of evil.
A gigantic bureaucracy of catalogued cruelty.
27 January is Holocaust Memorial Day – the theme is ordinary people.