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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