they were happy about us in separate, staggering ways. i remember the stifled, almost contrite look of pity that formed on your sister's face when i told her you had signed up. "what an idea," those eyes said, like it was some miracle we told her at all. what(more) a shame that you were too much of a coward to face them yourself.
for me it was quiet disappointment. and maybe that was just something leftover from childhood-- when no one would look at me like they looked at you, that i was something smaller and not really meant for anything big in this world. you were always taller than me, loping around on legs not built for a boy your stature like god had made a mistake on the assembly line and given the boy with a toothy grin too big of shoes to fill.
maybe i just stepped into your shadow too often.
we were gods in a broken land, pouring our souls into the deaths of men that were just trying to serve their country. i think back now and remember how torn up you were about your german, afraid they would mistake you for a nazi, and crack-- that would be the end of isaac adler.
the first thing you taught me in german was "i love you", and if that wasn't a sliver of your soul i don't know what is.
and now i'm here but nothing makes sense anymore. the dust has settled and hitler is dead but i'm not quite sure if i'm alive anymore either. i can't stop the shaking, and the liquor doesn't make any difference, not when i'm hearing your voice in my head chastising me about it. i hear it-- god i--
The end of the world.
Around my ears like
Debris and smoke
(more) My eyes with tears.
Slow-motion people surrounding us
And I see the faces
Of others who saw
Ends of days.
You were meant to survive
I was never
Strong enough to withstand
The initial fallout