World History 101

Tourists show up at my doorstep
at five on Tuesdays, filed in
from Fresno, Sussex, Mombassa,
and the slums of Moscow.
They wield cameras, newspaper
clippings with my face etched
in their cover, and a curious
amazement at my frame.

I take them around the compound,
pointing out bits of import:
here the mother clutched her child
while they were both shot,
by the rusty gate I vomited
green that came from my soul.

Some snap
pictures, a few
weep, others take
notes lazily,
half-awake
in the lecture hall.

The main attraction, the Jew
who knew the hiding place
of fifty more but said not
a word, taking his mustard
like a man and lying
on the grating with a crooked smile.

More weep, more
take pictures,
some hang
their heads.

The tour complete, I wander,
starved, into a furnace, pushed
by a man with blonde hair
and a t-shirt, half-awake.

I’ll be up again in a week
for another tour.
Class dismissed.

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