Robert Champ

I WONDER IF YOU ARE IN HELL, JOSEPH MENGELE

So many who belong there probably aren’t.
But surely if you are in hell
It is the one in the memories of the few
Still left alive who passed through your laboratory
Or at least inhabited the camps you worked in.
As time passes you are growing dimmer,
Like pointy German script in old reports.
The attempts to keep you alive
In museums and history books
And TV documentaries
Are less desperate; you threaten to disappear
Like a poisonous drop of water
Evaporating
Into the great gasbag of history that rides
Over us.

Joseph Mengele, you might find oblivion
After all. For most of us look back
To find images of ourselves,
And no one wants to look like you,
No one wants to say to you Brother.
It must make you smile, wherever you are,
To know the traces of our kinship
Await us in some cold collective Gehenna.

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