Uncle Josef

By Rev. Dr. A. Jacob Hassler

Uncle Josef strides proudly amongst our weeping fathers
his uniform crisp, his medals aglow
whistling Wagner on his way to work
whilst off to the chimney they go
Uncle Josef’s riding crop snaps to attention
links oder rechts to the prisoners show
the white-teeth dogs bark and bite at their heels
whilst off to the chimney they go
Uncle Josef points the women to the showers
their sad march forms a path thru the snow
but his showers don’t have any running water
off to the chimney they go
Once, during an outbreak of typhus among the Gypsies
Uncle Josef had no mercy to bestow
so don’t get sick and do what you’re told or it’s
off to the chimney you go
Doctor Josef’s hands are red with Friedrich’s blood
his twin looks away as his brother moans low
Josef kisses the dead boy’s hand
off to the chimney they go
“Dig me a pit and set it ablaze, ” Uncle Josef orders
“then into the pit the children throw
“don’t you fail me in this task, there’s
“no room in the chimney, you know.”
Uncle Josef flees as the Reds advance
to deliver Berlin her final blow
he gathers all manner of damning papers
and off to the chimney they go
Uncle Josef drowns off the coast of Brazil
and i wonder if, as his pulse slows,
he sees our ghosts floating in the cold waters
whilst off to the Chimney he goes
Uncle Josef’s lifeless body drifts
in water cruel as evil’s art;
the flame of justice fiercer still
than any flames that sear the heart

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