America, January 27, 2017 or We Are the Germans

© Lana Hechtman Ayers


Terror, anger, shame.


I wonder If this is how
the German people felt—
the ones who cobbled shoes,
the ones who rose early
to bake bread,
the ones who rocked
babies in their arms
and sang guten Morgen—


I wonder if this is how
the German people felt
when they saw
what they had done,
chosen a monster
to lead their country.


Instead of yards full of chickens,
and pockets full of deutsche marks,
the German people were treated to
streets swept clean of their unclean
neighbors, and courtyards
full of dust and darkness,
uniformed men with brutal
hands to patrol the land with pride.


I wonder if those Germans
who tended their gardens,
or who kept books
for the mom and pop markets,
or who constructed those fine
Mercedes Benz limousines
piece by elegant piece—


I wonder if this is how
those Germans felt,
the way Americans do now,
only a few days after our
new leader has assumed office
and signed the proclamation
stating Muslims aren’t welcome
on our American soil.


Terror, anger, shame.


I wonder if those Germans
bit their tongues to blood,
or worried their knuckles raw.
Did they feel any sorrow at all,
or did they simply lay
their heads on pillows
and wind the alarm clocks
for another day?

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