Oh what a snapshot of innocence,
The soft patter of unscathed feet against rigid planks,
Childhood in my eyes.

Though childhood is often considered a time of ignorance,
It is my own naïveté in this conception.
My privileged lens shadowing the lurid truth,
That childhood can be the rake of young knees,
And new skin marred by the devilish credence of men with powerful insecurity.
That you can be born loved by family,
But despised by the world around you.

In my privilege I wallow,
Because the words on that textbook page,
That spell out in ink “6 million innocent Jewish people slain,” Can receive more than a pitied glance and a troubled sigh.

So yes, never forget.

Yet forgetting is so easy when there is no substance to the story in front of you,
When millions of childhoods stuffed within the earth,
Are reduced to ink marks in textbooks covered by careless doodles.
And I fear that is what we have become;

To remember, we must empathize,
And know what it feels like to be brought to your knees for simply being alive.
I stood in a boxcar where thousands of children before me stood.
With unscarred feet and a fettered mind,
I stood on rigid planks,
That broke the innocence of those before me.

A hazy glow slipped onto the floor,
And outlined the vermillion footsteps
That toddled blindly toward me.
When you stand helpless with the blood of childhood sacrificed at your feet,
How can your heart not burn?

How can your soul not ache? So yes, never forget.
But to do so, we must know how to remember.

Originally published in KidSpirit Online for the Unity and Division issue.

When she wrote this poem, Hannah Grove was a freshman in high school in Colorado. She has been raised outdoors. Hannah loves to swim, kayak, hike, and especially spend time with her friends. At school, she is an Ambassador, which means that she works with families wanting to apply to the school.