Lullaby, and Goodnight, Go to Sleep Little Baby

by Bonnie Roberts

(In the Holocaust, classical music was often played as people marched to their deaths in the gas ovens. The symphony was usually made up of fine Jewish musicians from the camps. The musicians who refused to play were murdered.)

Love, the tall mirror
we use
to see our little selves
all big and pretty.

The brute prison guard
we hire
to bring others in line,
to keep them locked up,
or away.

Love, the brass knuckle
that splits our lips when we tell the truth,
the unsanitary needle to thread cat-gut
for stitching lies together.

Love, the shiny ring that cuts off circulation.

The greatest lie ever told.

We are happy when she loses her right eye.
We are happy when it’s the other guy.
Just as long as it’s the other guy.

Love is the sweet, false Sunday croon
that eats windpipes
like cancer.

Love, the chocolate-chocolate cake,
fat with marshmallow poison.

Love is the hammer to the back of the head,
the love tap you never see coming.

The dime store towel to wipe up the mess.

Love, the head-shot coyote
who meant no one harm.
His brains hang out, spell L-O-V-E.

A nicer word for self-aggrandizement,
self-liking, self-licking.

Love, the obese who weep for the starving.

Hitler loves us all.
Hitler loves all the little children of the world.
Hitler did what love will do.

Love, the gas oven.

Today’s ashes rise
on a Brahms lullaby.


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