All Gone

his father told him

not to worry

and to meet him


after dinner

by the fence

that separated

where the boys lived

and the men lived

and so he did


and the minutes

they had together

were all that was left

his mother

and sister

were somewhere else

in that awful place

where people screamed

and disappeared

and there was very little food

and it was cold

and he had to pretend

to be older

like his father told him

because younger boys

are taken somewhere

and never return

he did not know why

they were taken from their home

so many

such a long trip







so each day

he went to that fence

for many months

as his father grew thinner

and his mother

and sister

were somewhere else

I love you, said father

be strong

be brave

work hard

come tomorrow

my son

and so he did

except his father

was not there

that day

or the next day

or any other day


and all that he had

was all gone

in that awful place

called Auschwitz


© 2012  Michael Fiveson

72 thoughts on “All Gone

  1. Damnit dad. IMO this is one the best things you’ve ever written, but it chokes me up everytime I read it, which then leads to an awkward conversation at work about my allergies acting up and no I’m not really crying at my desk…


    • That you can feel this says much about you Matt. I guess you know my heart well enough to know how this rips me apart, and is part of who I am at my very core. Good thing I can change that overwhelming grief into anger and say that this will NEVER happen again, but only if we never forget.


    • So true. We can read it, but we can’t imagine it. It was a million times more horrible than anything I might be able to write, but I thank you for the read and comment.


      • oh of course that is very touching. Auschwitz is a horror that should never be forgotten. all I am saying is that when I began to read your poem my first thought was that it was about Africa.. I am sorry if I offended you.


      • Oh no offense taken, I just needed to clarify what you were saying. We are good selah. Thank you for this.
        And I so acknowledge that there continues to be horrors perpetrated all over the world, it seems. Africa is gruesome and unimaginable.


  2. You were able to communicate the horrors of the Holocaust in a heartbreaking story of few words. I am stunned and quite moved.


    • Those words formed deep in my soul and basted for all my years.
      What really is stunning is the quality of your comment.
      Changing gears……that picture of you in your very first post….at a bar, drink in hand…..when was that taken?


  3. Beautiful words Mike… the ending was somber!! I visited the Dachau camp in Germany on one of my many trips to Europe and I think every human being should pay a visit to remember what happened and what can never be allowed to happen again! Seeing it in person and standing there is a different experience.

    Sorry about the rant… hate is just an ugly thing!!!


    • And the voices of those who were there grow more faint as time takes them. No doubt you had a powerful experience at Dachau. I would lose it there. Some things deserve a good rant, this is one of them. Thanks B.


  4. Michael, Thank you for writing. It was a terrible time in history and you portrayed it as it was…….Thanks again. Keep up the good work……


  5. I also knew where you were taking us. This reminded me of a movie I rented recently, “Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” Instead of a father and son at the fence, it is about two young boys on opposite sides. I was so consumed by sadness. Your poem has the same impact. FYI: Google Eva Moses Kor and CANDLES Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana.


  6. Powerful and emotional to the core, Mike. An excellent piece. It sends shivers to my heart. We must never forget the horrors of what these strong, loving people went through. Thanks for sharing your awesome writing.


  7. Stark and gut wrenching Mike. There was a time when I used to be obsessed with everything on the subject. Couldn’t comprehend the depths to which humanity could sink.


  8. Incredible, really, stunning in the way it deserves. I have read too much for my own good on the subject and you have written a moving piece that is haunting – we should all be haunted by this so as to never forget. Thanks for sharing here.


    • I too have read too much for my own good. That horror and the suffering live at my core, and I feel those souls.
      You and I might never forget, but as time goes by I fear that new generations will instead never know.
      You read something that is very personal for me and your comment is more appreciated than you might imagine, so a deep thank you.


  9. You liked my post and so I followed you here. Why I tapped into “All Gone” first I do not know. But I am with those who found the emotion conveyed by so few words a poignant and perfect expression! I knew before the bottom what the last word might be, but that didn’t dull the impact seeing there it was. The father is proud of the boy on the other side of the fence!


    • That period of time and the horror inflicted on so many is well beyond anything we can know. Yet I feel it deep inside of me, and am never far from the maddening terror.
      Thank you Judy.


  10. Mike, I couldn’t punch the like button because it seemed disrespectful to say “like’ to a poem about such a shocking part of our history. It still shames me that man could do that to man. Your piece left me feeling sad and confused all over again and then I remembered some of the amazing stories of courage and empowerment which arose from such ugliness and I was able to breathe again, breathe in and remember to always maintain a hope for humainty in the site of such tragedy, suffering and utter human ugliness, because in that mix, there will always be something of beauty and redemption. God bless u and may we never forget or excuse such travesty.


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