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27th July 1943.

through the fire he walks alone
and walks he knows not where -
anywhere but here, this night,
and in his hand his little suitcase
and in his suitcase his little brother.

up here
at twenty thousand feet
we look around at each other uneasily,
disbelieving of what our senses convey
as a drift of smoke wafts through the cabin
the unmistakable smell of a barbecue on a balmy evening,
only
that’s human beings being roasted
alive in their thousands
in the streets of Hamburg way below
and a different kind of hamburger in the embers.

all’s fair in love & war
they say,
& so Rotterdam & London
begat Gomorrah &
what goes around
comes around
so they say

and a boy with a suitcase
looks much the same
in any town or city
only
this boy had luck on his side
and a pair of clean pyjamas
to call his own.