My Mother was Fathered by Death

 
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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;

waterlogged Marlboros

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.


’My Mother was Fathered by Death’ is a poem written in 2018. It was published in Pamplemousse Journal, which you can view online.

The accompanying photography for this piece was shot by Audrey Gretz.