My Mother was Fathered by Death

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.