It is as though
I remember
my voice call out
the auction
for the buyers
of slaves
on the wharves
of Charleston Harbor
and my hand
bang the gavel
then sign
the bill of sale.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I was thinking about how both guilt and trauma can pass through the generations. My ancestors were northerners and did not own slaves as far as the family record reveals. But as white people of that era, they benefited from slavery in lower prices on products produced through the labor of slaves.

I have read about the descendants of Auschwitz survivors suffering a from PTSD even though they themselves did not experience the trauma first hand.

Having read this, I wonder if this trauma can be passed on to friends and family. I wonder if care dogs become traumatized in the act of their service. I have not searched the internet for information at this time.

Brighter news. The bee balm is in full bloom and the garden is abuzz.

Love & Light


2 thoughts on “Hereditary

  1. You ask great questions with this piece. From my own family experience I would say that, yes, trauma can be/is passed through the bloodline. Hence the importance of fostering a culture of healing at all levels of society. Otherwise, how can we ever hope to move past our trauma?


    1. Thank you, Beth. One of the things I have wondered is how the relatives of Auschwitz guards have done with this issue over the years. Maybe Germany’s national reconciliation was helpful.


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