Anteroom Gathering

Long silent, the grandfather clock awakes
to strike a full twelve bells at midnight.
On a glass topped table, five candles light
without the need for human hands, chairs
with flawless satin seats await the guests.

Dr. Mengele passes through the door
with a box of spectral chocolates,
the same he gave to Jewish twins
when their train arrived in Auschwitz,
prized subjects for his surgeries.

Ilse Koch, Red Witch of Buchenwald,
appears in fashion, with a fancy purse
of Jewish prisoners’ tattooed skins.
Himmler brings his book on the occult
and racist jokes to share, but is ignored.

Adolph and Eva are fashionably late,
she with her two terriers, he with
his German Shepherd, Blondi,
all wagging tails and licking hands,
just like things used to be,

before the last few days,
when Blondi took the cyanide
to assure her master that it worked,
and Eva’s terriers were shot, along
with Blondi’s newborn pups.

This night, they gather to forget,
with fictive wine and phantom tea,
to joke and jest and reminisce
the histories of their wartime lives
until at dawn, the clock ticks cease.

— Marge Simon

Marge Simon lives in Ocala, FL. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side,” and serves on Board of Trustees. She is the second woman to be acknowledged by the SF &F Association with a Grand Master Award. Marge’s poems and stories have appeared in Silver Blade, Bete Noire, Urban Fantasist, Daily Science Fiction, YOU, HUMAN, CHIRAL MAD 2,3 and SCARY OUT THERE, to name a few.

Editor’s Note: The image is credited to NBC’s Roger Mudd and Dennis Murphy: In 1985, U.S. forensic scientists working with authorities in Brazil confirm that remains exhumed from a grave in Brazil are those of fugitive Nazi fugitive Josef Mengele, known at Auschwitz as the “Angel of Death.” Positive I.D. is made by measuring and analyzing bones and matching teeth in a skull to Mengele’s German dental records.