Ian McBryde ~ Three Poems


Under Pink TrianglesIan-McBryde

Spent, one of the senior Kapos withdraws
from the prisoner’s mouth, and fills
the young man’s hand with crusts of bread.

In the unlit latrine, after the Kapo leaves,
the prisoner washes out his mouth, spits
repeatedly, then eats the dry and brittle husks.

The others dream fitfully on their thin mattresses

of straw. These extra crusts will keep him alive
through the day that awaits him, every hour

knowing that again tonight as the others sleep,
after midnight, the Kapo will be back, smiling,
trousers unbuttoned, more bread in his hand.

SS Banquet, Treblinka

Mein Gott this is most disagreeable. These chimneys
pervade and stain even the atmosphere of the dining hall.
Surely some method could be invented to make that stink
flow downwind and away. Under such circumstances
no gentleman could fully enjoy this well-prepared repast.
See that the problem is addressed. Until then, more
of this fine wine? Fruit salad? Some cognac? A cigar?

Hesse at Spandau

On film decades later,
ancient, gummy-mouthed,
eyebrows alive, you shuffle
up a path at Spandau.

Alone in this prison within
a prison you still serve as
scapegoat for kammeraden
long-released. A ghost

in the garden, you watch
the cameras warily, like
the cameras once watched
you standing by your god,

echoing his sentences,
guarding his back, marching
three respectful paces
behind him, to the right.

© Ian McBryde