Girl, Early Post-War (poetry challenge)

 
 
 the young daughter
of an accused collaborator in Eastern Europe…

 


 

Standing out on the platform
on these cold, early mornings of her school days
the maroon wool coat she wears is a Jew-star
leech on her arm, a blood sucking cloth of shame.

What further public and private depravity
could her mother have imposed? His prisoner-of-war
tailor fingers too-long lingering at the hem
of her shivering, stripped to petticoat slip of a body

his lecherous slide-of-hand chalking
over the small swell of breast pockets.
In her painful anticipation as the train approaches
she is desperately thinking she will yank

it off, fling it beneath the wheels, run
rather than bear one more climb
into the cattle-car replica with its feel of closed-in slats
for windows, the gasping intake of smoke-choked air,

the chug, on and on toward the contemptuous looks
and vicious insults hurled by her school mates –
the witch-hunt, the burning
waiting, as always, at the end of the line.

 

© belcanto 2017
critique and comments welcome.

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