Historic times, father would say,
urging me to collect
the news of the day.
My scrapbook of a world at war
showed Hitler, Mussolini
and Tojo too,
who were all after me
because I was a Jew.

With the blare of air raid sirens,
black shades covered all windows.
Father, an air raid warden,
patrolled the streets,
to insure the blackout complete.
No light could show,
not even a cigarette glow.

Waiting for Luftwaffe bombers
I hid under my bed,
clutching my Red Ryder BB Gun.
My plan: to trip a German
entering my room;
shoot him in the eye,
and whack him on the head
with my DiMaggio Louisville
Slugger Baseball Bat.

My cousin sent V-Mail letters
during blinding sandstorms
from Casablanca.
With a tourniquet on his arm,
an arm which never made it home,
he drove a Sherman tank
blasting a division of Panzers
in the Battle of El Alamein.

It was only many years later
that I learned of Jan Karski,
the Polish diplomat,
who saw what went on
behind the gate: “Arbeit Macht Frei.”
He told Roosevelt, but was not to be believed.
All that was said: Not possible, not possible, not possible.