Learning about Nazis in High School

Reading my history texts, I imagined
what I would’ve done if I’d lived
in Germany during the War.

How I would’ve resisted, hidden Jews
in my basement, risked my life,
my freedom to foil the fascists.

But having grown-up and fat,
I sign petitions, write letters
to the editor and merely vote.

I don’t think I could fit a secret
room behind my poetry bookshelf,
much less an underground railroad.

I used to wonder how the Good Germans
could have been so blind?

Now I know and I am shamed.

Bartholomew Barker works with Living Poetry, a collection of poets in North Carolina. He has published a full-length collection, a chapbook and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has recently appeared in Panoply, Free Verse Revolution, the Gyroscope Review, Naugatuck River Review, among others. Read other articles by Bartholomew, or visit Bartholomew's website.