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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 12: March 2022
Poem: 116 words
By Julie Standig

Family Gathering

Arbeit macht frei 
not quite a welcome sign, 
but it led me to the ovens. 
Took my breathe away, 
that air we shared. 

Flesh, hair, bones. 

They took the Kinder, 
on the trains they went, 
and we knew 
we knew 
we knew we would never 
see them again. 

Bones, hair, flesh 

My grandmother’s family, 
all except two, 
whole villages, 
some never had time for their tattoo, 
straight to the ovens. 

Hair, bones, flesh 

The metal door taunted, 
beckoned, threatened. 
I could smell their ashes. 
I saw exactly how 
they were pushed 
to one side 
to allow for more. 

Bones, flesh, hair 

How many? 
Did we look alike? 
Think alike? 

I stood 
where they stood. 



—From the poet’s forthcoming collection, The Forsaken Little Black Book

Julie Standig
Issue 12, March 2022

has studied at the Unterberg Poetry Center, participated in Writer’s Voice, and was an active member of a private workshop in NYC run by poet Estha Weiner. A lifetime New Yorker, she now resides in Bucks County with her husband Ken and their Springer Spaniel, Dizzi. A proud member of the late and beloved Dr. Chris Bursk’s springtime workshop, she continues to write with many of those talented poets. Julie’s writing has appeared in Alehouse Press, Arsenic Lobster, Covenant of the Generations, Sadie Girl Press, Schuylkill Journal Review, and US1 Poets/Del Val, as well as in the online publications Rats Ass Review and the Silver Birch Press blog.

Her first full-length poetry collection, The Forsaken Little Black Book, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in Autumn 2022. Memsahib Memoir, a chapbook, was released by Plan B Press in 2017. She proudly continues her writing with Bucks County poets. Their inspiration and encouragement help her find the words.

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