Holocaust

The boys in their khaki uniforms
continued to draw swastikas
in the margins of their notebooks
even against our teachers’ dictates.

When my grandfather,
born a Jew,
showed me a picture
of G.I.’s pointing pistols
at each other
in front of a Nazi flag,
my third grade mind
could only draw
one conclusion.

Fascinated by stories in our books
of lampshades stretched
from human skin,
I raised my hand in catechism
at Holy Name of Jesus
and told Ms. Kibodeaux,

“My grandpa was a Nazi.”

“Your grandfather’s going to Hell,”
she said to me,
eager to sort the damned
from the saved,

burning us whole.