a bland diet
ahead of its time, really
what Weight Watchers now calls Power Foods
rice, noodles, peppers, peas, cauliflower
Fuhrer kept Fuhrer healthy
if and only if
Margot kept Fuhrer alive
Margot and the dozen or so others
Jewish girls, put to their many uses
surely cleaning and cooking and sex
but most honorably at Fuhrer’s feast
Margot and the other girls now dead
eating every meal every day to die
hoping perhaps the would-be assassins knew
or guessed and perhaps cared that of course
every item on every dish passed young innocent lips
and sat churning young bellies for an hour
before their surviving gave the all-clear and Fuhrer fell to
relishing the sweet strength flowing from that tasteless tested fare
living in his ravenous mind a thousand years
beyond that table of toadies and slaves
munching absently as the girls slinked off and wept to be alive
wept to know their lives, in the spending or the losing, were his
and now history’s, and God’s, if God even showed up
to work that harvest
none left, none left, but Margot Wolk, outliving him by 70 years
her tongue thick still with what he never tasted
—Dan Carpenter (Marion County)
This poem is from The Art He’d Sell for Love (Cherry Grove Collections, 2015).
Dan Carpenter is a poet, fiction writer, freelance journalist and former Indianapolis Star columnist. He has published poems and stories in many journals and is the author of two collections of poems, More Than I Could See (Restoration Press) and The Art He’d Sell for Love (Cherry Grove Collections). He is an Indianapolis native who grew up in Fountain Square and has resided many years with his wife, Mary, in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood.
Poetry Prompt: Overlooked by the History Books
Write a poem about someone who doesn’t have a starring role in history books, but, nevertheless, played a role in history and was personally affected by it. You might discover this person in a newspaper story, or maybe this person is someone you have known personally or just wondered about. Perhaps he or she was the guide or porter for an important explorer, the spouse of a famous painter, the inventor of something commonplace, or the carrier of an important message.
Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem and prompt every day in April. Indiana Poet Laureate Shari Wagner selected these poems and wrote the prompts.