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Brandenburg Gate

January 14, 2017

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:

 

Brandenburg Gate

 

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.

 

 

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