It reeked of Carbona, Clorox, sawdust-soaked vomit,
blooomer pee and wet makinaws.

A rosacea-faced teacher with lizard-green eyes.
always failed me at inspection
for a speck of dirt under a fingernail.

As the only Jew in school, I was hassled by hooligans,
young German-American Bundists, who cheered Hitler on.

Half-dazed with dread, I tried to make myself invisible
as a silent vowel.

Our principal, a Rosicrucian orator, foamed at the sides of his mouth
when he reminded us:
“Why be an old Ford, when you could be a Rolls Royce?”

During assembly, he barked we could all be alchemists,
including the janitor, and he never failed to remind us
that we could all develop “second sight.

I once bumped into him patrolling the hallways
with his fedora on, and voiced my complaint
about classmate bullies.

He suggested I take it up with Akhenaten.

My second sight arrived in eighth grade:
appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

I doled out punishments to those who were tardy,
ignored monitors, or got into fights carrying a blade.

Pupil perps were fined: for the war effort;
they had to haul in pounds of waste paper
or scraps of metal, especially tin,
to insure soldiers overseas will surely win.

After school, with a red, white and blue Star of David,
I stamped scraps of tin in the school’s storage bin.