April 24 – Anti-semitism

Anti-semitism
January, 1983


my great-uncle’s living room
Terra Haute, IN, late,
watching a WWII documentary

with him

because knowing where he was
was safer than not knowing

he was mesmerized, always,
by all things Nazi

Battle of the Bulge survivor

In the back bedroom, his wife
lay dying of cancer, weak, wasting,
terrified— no longer

my Great-Aunt Ann,
mother of 7 and still time for me

she’d seen no doctors
had no pain drugs, hankies
from constant nosebleeds piling up
unwashed

For healing, his god must suffice

3 of his children sterile—
measles

In the dark he turned to me
They deserved it. The Jews.

What?

What Hitler did. They deserved it. They killed Jesus.

I went to my great-aunt
to her dark room
where he wouldn’t come

She died that spring

only now can I say
none of us deserved it

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