Did she still whisper
“Why anticipate trouble”
when transported from Westerbork
to Auschwitz in Wagon Number 12,
“They should be exterminated like fleas,
those petty fears of the future”
as her future rushed towards her
to exterminate her?
Maybe I should pause, retreat
or at least recite
“Why anticipate joy”
as I hurry past the yellow squares of life
that once were far and sealed
and tonight open towards me
to let me in and out as I wish
while a silly hope for happiness
sways like a jug, too large,
on my head

Poet's Note: Citations from An Interrupted Life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941–1943, New York, Pantheon Books, 1984