Badge of Honor

When I asked my father
what the yellow star meant
he told me it was
a badge of honor,

but grandpa told me
we’d always been made
to wear daddy’s badges.

Sometimes we wore belts,
like a kay-liph in 800 B.C.
made us wear, or in 1200
when the English king
made us wear

the Ten Commandments
written on our shirts,

or horned hats,
coned caps, armbands
in white, yellow, blue.

My father says it’s
a badge of honor,

but when the Germans
dragged him away,

he told me he was sorry
he’d let me be born.

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