Liberated, they lay like rags

behind the wire, soulless eyes

in soulless faces, earth tossed

over shoulders frail as wishbones.


He, too, could have been spared

the nightmare hood, the stained

snow—the first American shot

for desertion since the Civil War.


Will we be judged by madness?

Or does the heart still

beat witness beneath

history’s dull indifferent shroud?




Author’s Note: Dachau and the Execution of Private Eddie Slovik was first published in The Copperfield Review.




Peter Taylor is a Canadian poet whose writing has appeared internationally in journals and anthologies, including Aperçus Quarterly, Construction, The Copperfield Review, Contemporary Verse 2EunoiaFrostwritingInk, Sweat & Tears, The Linnet’s Wings, Nether, Pirene’s Fountain, Poetry Australia, Pyrta, and StepAway Magazine. His books include Trainer, The Masons, and Aphorisms, and his experimental verse play on the Civil War, Antietam, won honorable mention in the War Poetry Contest in Northampton, Massachusetts. winningwriters.com/past-winning-entries/antietam.