A Holocaust of Toads

By Doug Holder

As boys-
we dropped rocks
a flurry of bomblets
on a passing phalanx of toads.

Commanders for once
free from the clamp
of parental constraint
punch drunk
with the notion
of our control
of fate life

And like
mini Dr. Mengeles,
we experimented
stuffing firecrackers
down their
twitching throats
and watched
with clinical fascination
as the blood
and amphibian skin
amounted to no more
than a small amorphous mess.
Well, after all they are only pests.

We watched them march
time after time
and we kept
our lethal promise
for their well-appointed death.
So many of them
black spotted, green, gray with white
all that blood
those terminal hues
we were just boys
we were Jews.

Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. He teaches writing at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, and Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. His work has appeared in Spare Change News, COMPOST, The Boston Poet, Arts Around Boston, The Jewish Advocate, The Boston Globe Magazine and others.