Modern History Class by John Grey


We were studying modern history
and, in the middle of a lecture
on the causes and effects
of the second world war,

some kid in the back stuck his hand up
and asked how could the German people
claim ignorance of the mass slaughter
of the Jewish people.

Were the populace that stupid?
Or were they purposely blind?

It was a good question, I thought.

What about the teachers?
he continued.
Didn’t they notice a few missing
faces in their classrooms?
Or the doctors?
Did some patients not show up
for their appointment?
Weren’t they curious?

The lecturer replied that
that was a subject for another time.
With that, we all knew the answer.

©2019 John Grey


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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and Failbetter.


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