WINTER 2006-7

David Axelrod

Veterans Day
The first time the Cossacks
came for Eliazar, his father
split his trigger finger,
rubbed the wound with dung.
That was all the physical
they gave--if you could pull
a trigger they'd drag you off--
so there he stayed until
the next time, when the horse
was waiting at the edge of village
for him to gallop as far from
Vilna as a horse can go and sail
the rest of the way to America.
His son Sam knew that Jews
were dying in Germany and the U.S.
truly didn't care.  1940 and we
still weren't ready for a war
so he made a plan in the form
of a son who would make him
the family's sole support.
By the time that boob Roosevelt
saw that big money wanted a war,
Sam had found a critical occupation
to ply at home.  No need to run
toward or from some Hitler;
safe enough the hide at home.
And his son David figured out
Vietnam just in time to avoid
the draft, counseling younger
students on ways out as simple
as wetting a bed, or feigning
migraines.  Better not to carry
pickets, protesting another way
to risk a bullet or cracked head.
Just smile and meet in a cozy
living room advocating peace.
So when his little son brought home
the Veterans Day sheet asking
his father to tell how he
and his family before had served,
the story unfolded with perfect
harmony, succinct, and captioned
"How the Axelrod Family
Never Served the Big Lie
Dulce et decorum est pro
patria morte." Of course,
the teacher never asked
poor Dan to read it.


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