Women of Disharmony

Disharmony is not only a state of being
But a colourless cube, built from converging walls
Bound by the mason's mortar between the brickwork
Solidified by the hot breath of weeping women.

Philosophise — believe this concrete clad room does not exist
It is simply an invention of the mind, a mental bondage
To historical inaccuracies. Or it is best forgotten, left that way
Just a square of walls in a silent, fenced-off field. But I

Heard about disharmony, in their voices travelling along
The barbed wires that now coil within my DNA strands
And their words were silenced outside those walls
Yet their last breaths were born in my lung tissue.

Have you seen disharmony? It begins with one wall.
It can build a city that stands a thousand years by a river's grassy edge.
Painted walls, cultural facades spread over the landscape. A colourful city
With sweeping designs of yellow stars smeared onto its doorways.

In that cube, that bare room, all the women were gasping
Running their hands along the concrete looking for cracks, trapped
By disharmony. Naked and brown, without sunlight or moonbeams
Not far from undivided Berlin, somewhere by a whistling train line.

Perhaps it was the same track that ran to the sea
Where families boarded boats, some never to see each other again. Separated
Sisters and cousins, children cast out like ashes from a furnace
They waved goodbye and said ‘Shalom’ to the ghosts they left behind.

Last night, I dreamed I visited Auschwitz.
A man in uniform smiled and led me through the gates.
He reunited me with the lost women of my family. They held me close
Crying as we showered in the space where those walls converged.

Wendy Beach (Western Australia)

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