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

"I went in expecting to lend my voice to the poetry, but found that it was a two-way exchange: the poetry lent its voice to me, as well."
Megan Kim
2017 OR POL Champion