The Last Nazis Have Died
by William Doreski
The last Nazis have died of lack
of love, their arrogance deflated
and their expressions slack as infants’.
I saw one throw himself under
a streetcar in Boston. His legs
stuck out so rigidly their stark
exclamations suggested regret.
Another drowned while crossing a half
frozen river four miles west
of Newport, New Hampshire. Locals
hadn’t noticed his German accent
but observed that spending hours
with the rabbi had left him gloomy
and muttering, doom on his face.
The winter light looks pallid
but cheerful this morning. Hemlocks
bear their snow-crusts with a smile.
Now that all the Nazis are dead
the landscape relaxes slightly
although aware that the next ism
lurks in the dark of the mind.
Downtown at the diner I recount
that streetcar disaster, and someone
describes the shapeless bulk
of the antique corpse recovered
from the Sugar River. We agree
that the Second World War drew the line
between good and evil forever.
Fueled with coffee and doughnuts
I exit into the cold and catch
a frown as big as Orion
scarred in the clouds. Ignore it,
I say, but a fluster of rage
fills me and I want to finish
the horror Hitler began, want
to scorch the planet to bedrock.
I duck and cover, dash back inside
and hide in the men’s’ room and grieve
as secretly as possible
for the man dead under the trolley,
the revenant drowned in the river,
and the suicide burned and scattered
in the rubble of Berlin