Last night I dreamt they came for me,

submerged my head in a toilet bowl,

remembered dunking for apples

at childhood birthday parties.

Found myself inside my father's fish tank,

enthralled by the fantail goldfish, bright blue

neons and black mollies, all moving to the beat

of "Take Five," my favorite Dave Bruebeck tune.

Suddenly, they barked questions that had no answers.

Name, rank and serial number would not suffice.


Snarling dragoons, enemies of Jehoshaphat,

threatened me with a ratchety rack from the

Spanish Inquisition. Considered me a Mossad spy

till I showed them the "X" (non-believer) on my dog tag,

wrestled from an army chaplain on the first

day of basic training, who argued I required a: "P"(Protestant),

"C" (Catholic), or "H" (Hebrew), so my grave could be marked

when they clenched the tag between my teeth.


Forced to confess I was a secular humanist:

"If you prick me do I not bleed?"

I lived by Hillel's golden rule, valued tzadukah

and talmudic ethics (For example: If you see a

house burning from a distance, it is forbidden to

pray it might not be yours.)


Let me keep my head: suicidal volunteers

will go the way of the brontosaurus

when no belly no longer swells from hunger.

"Forgive them for they know not what they do."

The only antidote to righteous rage is forgiveness.

In the prophetic warning of W.H. Auden:

"We must love one another or die."

Peace is as simple as that.


Milton P. Ehrlich