by Janet R. Kirchheimer (New York, NY)
Sometimes I dream I’m the one who kills Hitler.
It’s simple. I walk up to him,
shoot him in the face, and watch his head
explode into a million
glass pieces that clink on the floor
like a Saturday morning cartoon character’s.
Except he doesn’t get back up.
And sometimes I am Yael.
I invite Hitler into my tent as he flees from his enemies.
He tells me he is thirsty, and I
give him milk, and he falls fast asleep.
I pick up a tent pin and hammer. I drive the pin
through his temple until it reaches the ground.
Other times I’m part of the plot to assassinate him
aboard his plane. This time I make sure
the bomb explodes. He falls faster and faster, crashing
with such force the earth swallows him up, as if he never
existed, and I’m sitting on the back porch, the sun is shining,
and all my grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles
are laughing and telling stories.
Janet R. Kirchheimer is the author of How to Spot One of Us (2007), a collection of poems about her family and the Shoah. Her poems and essays have appeared in several journals such as the Connecticut Review and Limestone, as well as on Beliefnet. She is a teaching fellow at Clal.
This poem has been reprinted with the kind permission of the author and Clal-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
For more about Kirchheimer’s work, visit: http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?WRD=janet+r+kirchheimer&page=index&prod=univ&choice=allproducts&query=Janet+R+Kirchheimer&flag=False&ugrp=2