Saturday, February 18, 2017

before the fever breaks

delirium and a good sweat will find a place
the osprey finds courage
in its wingspan
sailing past old glory
where there are no empty nests
to sulk in

when my father joined
the international brigades
in spain in 1937
his truck carried
communications gear
to help the republic
coordinate their defenses
against the relentless bombing raids
of the nazi luftwaffe

the frontlines grew into thousands of dead and maimed
the brunete counterattack
the jarama valley
my father's truck dodging the bombs
in the dark
with no headlights

there was justice
but no glory
in any of this
below his breastbone
was the memory of the gentleness
of his mother's hand
a courageous woman
dying at a young age
after giving birth
to ten children

when my father reached the age
of ninety-two
he had already surpassed
the fascist franco-hitler-mussolini-senator joseph mccarthy

my father would often say
a jew is obligated
to stand with the oppressed
but don't ask me for a biblical reference
or a politician's self-serving approval

--- e b bortz

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