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a six-pointed fabric gold starRussland, russische Kriegsgefangene (Juden)

pinned to your chest

you attached it yourself

how could you comprehend

it marked you out for death?


like the oversize white Xs

they paint on the trunks

of condemned trees

in suburban streets.


a line of numerals

on your forearm

reminds you of the time

you fell into a world of harm:

a nightmare you couldn’t wake up from.


your cancelled future may have held a child

with no idea that that school badge of merit

that proud distinction

now coveted and craved

pressed onto the top

righthand corner of the page

once spelt extinction.


perhaps he can still remember

the unique and special

taste of the paste

on the tip of his tongue,

as he carefully moistened

its delicate reverse.

he may equate it with success,

a past perfumed with chalk dust,

promise and hopefulness.


but you too were once like this,

running in a playground

of levelled light-grey gravel,

invincible and breathless,

a coloured sash across your chest.

unafraid and innocent,

not knowing what it was then

not possible to know.

and now there is no unknowing it.




Image from Wikipedia, Antisemitism