One and one and one and one—

Count the human beings annihilated
with the technique we learned

to figure in first grade
—each number
a authentic individual:
Mira with her cloche hat and silk stockings,
Basha the braided scout troup leader,
Motl who was always very very tired
with running his chocolate business.
One and one and now they're gone.

Their loss
impossible to figure in the abstract.

And survivors we count the way
we counted in Heder: Not one,
not two, not three, not four,

not to confuse the Evil Eye,
not to deny what they have past
but to protect us all
from the numbers, the numbers,
the numbers.