eloped to escape Him,
but moved back in eventually.
My mother prays to Death,
asks Him to say hello for her,
makes altars to Him
in the glove compartment;
bent like the cross and silver
offerings of Nicotine wrappers.
Her father, a WWII veteran,
came back carrying more hate
than what he’d packed to go;
two military-approved suitcases full
of faces from Dachau, faces of war
prisoners. When handed photos
of faces he no longer recognizes,
he clears his throat like a rusted tractor
fighting to start and says, I don’t know,
that was overseas as though
it was a different world, and it was then.
A buncha them towns, he says,
was along the Berlin corridor.
You’d find the church steeples,
shoot a fifty caliber into it,
that way if there was any snipers in there
ya killed ˊem. A buncha them towns,
he says, we shot ˊem all to hell.