I wrote this poem in response to a recent news story that reported and pictured Germany’s Brandenburg Gate emblazoned with the colors of Israel’s flag, in solidarity with the killing of four Israeli soldiers in a terrorist truck attack.
This poem was published in Tuck Magazine:
Is it fixed now –
now that a flag of light, of blue and of white,
wraps itself around the Brandenburg Gate
because four Jewish soldiers on a Jerusalem corner were crushed
into the world to come by a truck blind with hate?
In 1939 crimson flags billow and bleed
beneath the columns of the Brandenburg Gate,
adorned with marching black swastikas, like twisted tarantulas
who exterminate their living prey.
Unter den Linden is now a street, was once a song
my Bubbe hummed
to her long ago babies in a dying tongue,
her Yiddish not so very unlike the German they spit
to the goosestep and drum
behind bolted synagogue doors just as they lit
up the pyres of Jews; and the SS helmets then darkened
her doorstep and made a memory of her four Jewish births.
In 2017 the Brandenburg Gate is lit up in brilliant
blue and white with a six-pointed star - not yellow
this time, not howling Jude, but still announcing to the world
the slaughter of Jews.