The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Erica Goss
When My Grandmother Stood Up to the SS
Maybe her teeth were still on edge
from last night’s air raid or maybe
her children’s cries of hunger had unhinged her
but when the SS officers pounded on the door
she explained in plain German that she would not display
the required-by-law photograph of der Führer
anywhere on the property she was forced to occupy.
They could have arrested her on the spot
dragged her away from her four feeble children
but they backed down, still insisting,
lowering their chins like boys caught tormenting a cat,
ready to flee from whatever had hurt
this olive-skinned hausfrau into near-suicidal defiance.
They left the picture leaning against the fence,
tilted like a tombstone. Soon the summer grass crept
around the frame and the rain melted
der Führer’s mustache where it spilled
onto the head of the blonde child
offering him a bouquet of flowers.
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