by Sy Roth
How ugly we must look,
We musselmen, to them
In their green uniforms
their cheeks full and pink,
Teeth hidden behind lips
Tense like drumheads.
How ugly our stench
As it drifted to their side,
A stench we had worn like suits of armor
Announcing victory, our survival.
How ugly our shuffling gait,
Soiled bare feet kicking the dusty ashes
Of loved ones lost in the conflagration.
How ugly our silent stares
into an empty future
Where a bogeymen prison had disappeared
to be replaced by new barbed wire.
We watch them bent on the other side,
Sadness galumphing on their faces like camels
In an endless, arid desert
Unable to bear the burden of their eyes.
We turned away from them
Our souls wasted by an ebon diabolique,
Fearing their disdain, their horror
As they littered the soil on their side of the barbed wire
With their afternoon lunch.
We turned our ugly selves from them
Adrift in our own freedom
And let them think on the Hieronymus Bosch world
That was painted from their side of the wire.