still in Heide braids when you first hear
goose steps in your town.
Let’s say fresh out of school the Luftwaffe
offers you a good job, they mention travel.
Let's say you ride in the back of the Mercedes-Benz
Transformable Torpedo, behind your boss
and his driver when the gates open
and transparent beings pour through the camp
like rushing water, drenched as if they had risen
from the ocean floor.
Let's say sleep comes and goes that night and
the next morning you place your breakfast
on the window sill and turn your back
and when you look again the plate is gone
and you feel relief that a ghost has eaten
and you are not arrested, your
giving hand not cut off.
Let’s say the next day you repeat this act
of kindness and later when all is over,
in the dark of night you grieve because
you did not do more.
And let’s say what was not done
becomes the story in your life
and your life is a protracted mourningfor it, for what was not done.