In a 2013 interview, Margot Woelk, revealed she had been one of Hitler’s food tasters during World War II.
Fifteen of us, all young and blush, perch on the kitchen bench,
critics on opening night,
so eager to forget about our bodies. We never forget
about our bodies. Every held breath
is a conspiracy, every double-blink a symptom, and still,
this is luxury. Three times a day,
my face a padlock, but my tongue a double-agent. The breeze
of celery, the radish’s smirk,
Brussels sprouts pinching gutsy and green — when did fear
ever dull the senses? The truth:
there is never enough. I am fervid in my duty, restless
as a flywheel, always counting down
to the fleeting kiss of the fork. Even as the allies blockade
all color, here: a kaleidoscope.
Am I afraid of cyanide? Show me a woman who knows
how to open only to joy.
I’ve heard the rumors: the towns left glass, the living catacombs,
the chambers blue
as drowning. But who would it save to chew with a proper
German scowl, to deny
myself the pleasures of aroma, to take a bullet
instead of a meal? I used to believe
there was power in refusal. Now Berlin is on fire
and I am a faucet run dry.
One of the guards told me dying of poison
wouldn’t be that painful,
easier than choking on the British bombs, faster
than lying among the rubble. Here,
my death would mean something. They say the last thing
some people see of this world
are iron gates crowned with the promise, Work
will make you free.
Amy David is a poet and performer from Chicago, Illinois. She has represented Chicago four times at the National Poetry Slam and has been featured on stages from Boston to San Francisco. Her work has appeared in journals including Word Riot, Foundling Review, and The Bakery.