Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holocaust Documentary or Never Again

By Laurie Lee Didesch

The man was a boy in the Ukraine whose family escaped the ghetto before the henchman went door to door making the Jews march to a ditch where they were told to strip naked and face forward before being shot at close range and then kicked into the gaping hole. Moaning, they were pummeled by rocks. The effect was a pillow over the mouth. They had gone down like

earth under the plow—row by row. Clothes flapped on the lines in the rolling countryside. The family hid in an abandoned barn. The father gathered potatoes and rutabagas after dark. But the neighbors torched the building. The boy did not notice when his mother stopped screaming. She hissed like a lobster in boiling water. The father, son and daughter hid in a nearby forest.

But the Gestapo caught the father and beat him until he resembled carrion. Then, one stuck a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. The boy and girl ran until they could run no more. Hansel and Gretel is indeed a fairytale. Up the road, a farmer and his wife took in the children. They were never far from the sights of carnage. They attended a school where they recited

Christian prayers. The boy who is now a man stands at the farm; a camera focuses on his face, waiting for it to bloom into a flower that is jubilant in color not black. He shakes his head and holds a photo of the children whose eyes are not gelatinous but like marbles. An interviewer says: You must have been okay all these years because you lived such a normal childhood here.

This poem won an Honorable Mention in the 2011 War Poetry Contest sponsored by Winning Writers, who previously published it.

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