The Railway Man by Sandra Anfang

June 30, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More

For Eric Lomax and Takashi Nagase


For some the war never ends

rages behind genteel manners

horn-rimmed specs

placid brows

mouths stitched tight as Bedouin wombs.


Will not remember. Can not forget.


Ame-koh. Gai-gin. Gai-ko.


Right hand man to the general

shrouded in interpreter’s guise

saved by education, a clever tongue

the torturer lives in the dark museum

neither man has slept in years.


Will not remember. Can not forget.


Butterhead. Jig. Kamikaze.


Two ghosts fighting inexorable demons

Occident and Orient

suicide of the Brit’s bunkmate

not even the woman of his heart

can enter.


Will not remember. Can not forget.


Yellow Peril. Whitefish. Hiroshima Head.


The torturer and the tortured

conspire to kill hate

touch palms, embrace under the cruel sun

a door opens –the woman watches from a distance

a single tear stripes her cheek –she steps inside


Now I remember. Will not forget.


Survivor. Broken one. Surrender.


Friendship. Love. Approaching whole.


Sandra Anfang is a poet, teacher, and visual artist in California. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Poetalk, San Francisco Peace and HopeWest Trestle ReviewHealdsburg Literary Guild’s 2015 chapbook, The Tower Journal, Mothers Always Write, Corvus, and Unbroken Literary Journal. She teaches in the California Poets in the Schools program and hosts a monthly poetry series in Petaluma, CA.

Read Sandra Anfang’s work in When Women Waken.

Tags: ,

Category: Poetry, United States of America, War, When Women Waken Literary Journal

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Mali Warshofsky says:

    This resonates deeply. Inner torment so profound “not even the woman of his heart
    can enter.” Familiar. Exquisitely expressed.

Leave a Reply