Kinderlandverschickung, Evacuation of the Children
Six am roll call, calisthenics, a cold shower,
Latin, history, math, cold sandwich.
Then: military geography, aircraft identification,
and small arms training, which I love.
Our instructor, a haughty Hitler Youth
Afternoons: running, marching,
digging trenches then homework
and the nightly letter to our parents.
By then I'm crying— exhausted, homesick.
A giant map dominates the dining hall.
Our troops march across Europe
marked by tiny swastika flags.
Our camp commander declares
daily, "You are the future."
On clear days, huge formations of
Flying Fortresses drone overhead,
darken the sky like giant bees.
Mutti and Papa send me
a permission slip so I can
go to the public pool,
along with a warning:
"You must not wait
till the bombers come.
Reconnoiter an area
where you can take cover.
Do not bother with clothing.
Get out of the pool