When the Germans Were on the Roof of the World

by Jerry Ratch


Flew a Messerschmitt.

Drove a tank over people in Poland

though not in Prague,

and claimed he was never a guard

at the death camps.


Knew nothing about it.

Didn't hear the rumors,

knew nothing, saw less.

Was afraid to stop,

or turn and run,

or simply say No, Nein,

Never, never, never.


Learned Zen

while driving his tank

over people in Poland

and anyway it was over

so fast, it went by

like a blitz,


and he could go back home

until the bombs began

raining down over Dresden

and he could no longer

get anywhere in his tank.


Then took to drinking. That way

didn't have to think.