THE PILES: An Excerpt from 'The Experience of a Young Woman in Hitler's Europe'

The following is a poetic excerpt from a play I wrote entitled ‘The Experience of a Young Woman in Hitler’s Europe.’ The play revolves around three women’s stories from growing up in the midst of the Holocaust. This excerpt is spoken by the narrator, when she introduces the physical piles that are on stage. The piles serve as a kind of character of their own throughout the play; they are set pieces, props, and also represent the people who perished during the genocide.

Piles of shoes

Piles of hair

Piles of pots, pans -

I couldn’t help but to stare

At the piles.

Piles of memories

Of lives lived

Of unrealized dreams

The piling of questions

That have not-good-enough answers

How could this happen?

Have we learned? 

Will we remember?

A lack of piles of response.

An abundance of recovered notes,

Letters from the otherwise forgotten

Uncovered underneath the rotten piles of memory.