For Joseph Flum

When he got to the farmhouse, he rifled through
the cabinets, drawers, and cupboards,
and his buddies did too. The place was abandoned,
or so he thought, and his buddies did too.

He tried to talk to people in town, and his buddies did too,
but he was the only one whose Yiddish made it
across into German. They took his meaning.
He, in the farmhouse, took a camera and a gun,

but his buddies, who knows. About the gun,
it’s also hard to say, but after the war he took up
photography, why not, and shot beautiful women
for years. Got pretty good at it, and how.

Won prizes and engraved plates, put them in a drawer, forgot
the war, forgot his buddies, forgot the women, forgot the drawer.

Note to Poetry Out Loud students: This poem begins with an epigraph that must be recited. Omitting the epigraph will affect your accuracy score.

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"What really makes a poem dynamic is not the use of grand gestures. Rather, it is the tones and expressions of the voice that help listeners connect and understand the meaning of a poem."
Angelica Sterling
2017 USVI POL Champ