Light

Felicia Nimue Ackerman

My sweet-sixteen dress was yellow as the daffodils

In the seamstress’s cramped but spotless living room,

Yellow as the lemon bars she made each Christmas

For the neighborhood children.

Mrs. Mueller lived at the end of our block

In a little stone cottage near a field of flowers,

Like a grandmother in a fairy tale.

She was old and poor and crippled

But always tidy, always smiling,

Even as the marshals took her away

After it came to light that, once upon a time,

She was a guard at Auschwitz.

Felicia Nimue Ackerman

Felicia Nimue Ackerman is a professor of philosophy at Brown University. Her poems have appeared in FREE INQUIRY (February/March 2008), as well as in The Providence Journal, English Studies Forum, and elsewhere. She is a lifelong atheist. Judaism was available in her family on a take-it-orleave- it basis, and she left it.


My sweet-sixteen dress was yellow as the daffodils In the seamstress’s cramped but spotless living room, Yellow as the lemon bars she made each Christmas For the neighborhood children. Mrs. Mueller lived at the end of our block In a little stone cottage near a field of flowers, Like a grandmother in a fairy tale. …

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