Orders

Naked skeletons. Hollow eyes. Gnarled joints. All in line for “shower” time.

I was just following orders.

Branded like cattle. In line like sheep for slaughter. Already dead.

I was just following orders.

“Shower time! Let’s go!” I shouted, but was it really me?

I was just following orders.

Shivering boy grasping at his arms. Orphan. Jew. Dirty. Already dead.

I was just following orders.

I lifted my gun. The boy cried. I struck him.

I was just following orders.

Same age as my daughter. Afraid of the soldier. She would be afraid of daddy.

I was just following orders.

One by one. Into the chamber. A woman. Same lovely eyes as my wife. Stared into mine.

I was just following orders.

Door sealed. Hiss of gas. Her gaze burned into my soul.

I was just following orders.

First pleads. Then screams. Desperate scratching echoing in my brain.

I was just following orders.

Twenty minutes. Soft thuds. Silence.

I was just following orders.

Opened door. Piled bodies. Stench of death. Gaping mouths. Mothers clinging to children.

I was just following orders.

Home. Daughter playing dolly. Wife beaming at me. “What did you do at work today?”

“I was just following orders.”

 

This poem is about: 
Our world
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