War Time, 1942 by William Trowbridge

War Time, 1942 | William Trowbridge


In the black-and-white snapshot, its spring,
and my father, in his civvies, cradles me, 
his baby son, in our back yard. I answer

his daddy smile with a dimpled grin 
at the moment another baby boy may be
getting his head bashed open on a tree 

by a drunken SS guard in Belzec as trucks
haul in more Jews for “processing.” In a month, 
my father will be sent by ship into battle,

unaware of the utter darkness there,
till his unit enters Buchenwald. 
The shadows in our yard, show it’s late.

Call Me Fool, William Trowbridge’s ninth poetry collection came out from Red Hen Press in September. Over 550 of his poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines and in more than 50 anthologies and textbooks. He is a faculty mentor in the University of Nebraska-Omaha Low-residency MFA in Writing Program and was Poet Laureate of Missouri from 2012 to 2016. For more information, see his website at