Donal Mahoney


Crackling Again


Rogers Park, Chicago,


This brilliant winter morning finds
waves of snow on every lawn
and red graffiti dripping
from the walls
of Temple Mizpah
once again
as down the street
stroll ancient men
who every morning
shuffle here for prayer.

As usual, they're lost
inside old overcoats,
their collars up,
their scarves too long,
their yarmulkes,
as always,
in diffidence
askew.

This morning, though,
they don't go in.
They shuffle near the curb
like quail.
They can't believe
the goose-step scrawl
on every wall.
They know their world's
awry again, an encore
of the chaos left behind
when they were young.

The good thing is,
Chicago's better now
than was Berlin back then
even though the temple walls
make clear this morning that
someone's struck another match
and the ovens of Auschwitz
are crackling again.

Submitted: Saturday, June 14, 2014

Topic(s): racism


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