The Three Faces of Evil
24 hour candy store taking orders from Lucky Luciano.
With eyes of stone they killed over 400, favoring
an ice-pick in the ear to simulate a natural death.
When Abe Reles got the heave-ho from the sixth floor
window of the swanky Half-Moon Hotel, he was called:
“The canary who sang but couldn’t fly.”
Hairy handball cronies rushed out of the schvitz
horrified at the blood-stained
Polar bear bathers shivered and blinked, as flashbulbs
popped, recording yet another chapter of Murder Inc.
An army of pushcarts lined
peddlers hawked their wares, shoppers wrapped in babushkas
fingered “Chiney” oranges, beet roots and soup greens from Canarsie farms.
Pots and pans clanked in the wind, live carp and pike frantically swam in circles
awaiting the club. Customers tasted mouth-watering barrels of half-sour pickles,
inhaling spicy odors of lox, salami, and shmaltz herring while waiting for ritually
slaughtered plump pullets and ducks. The acrid smoke of burnt pin feathers filled
the air as blood spattered on newspapers carrying headlines of imminent war.
Sitting on an orange crate in front of her cart, a shrewd market woman with
weather-crinkled skin stared at the bustling crowd with rheumy eyes, cradling a
pumpernickel under her arm, carving off a thick slice, sipping a svetouchnee tea.
It looked like a scene in Bailystock,
that week heard a pounding on the door in the middle of the night.
Yellow stars of David were rounded up, some shot on the spot,
others beaten, cattle cars carting them off to the camps.
Menacing tanks roared on from
Kate Smith sang: “God Bless
Boatloads of refugees who couldn’t believe
what was happening until it was too late, were turned
away from our shores, never to be heard from again.
Milton P. Ehrlich