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Robert Lowes

September 1, 2019

September 1, 2019

Dust of panzer columns
stabbing Poland
eighty years ago today.
Stuka dive-bombers,
like falcons over Warsaw.

My Munich mother,
twelve years old then,
perhaps posing pretty
for her father’s Leica
near the swoosh and spray
of Sendlinger Tor fountain,
four years from rubble.
Loudspeakers above
the cobblestones blared,
“The Jews are our misfortune.”

My father, four lean years
before bootcamp. Maybe
baling hay with his brothers
in the droning, chirping
fields of Southeast Missouri.
Race was a chuckle
at suppertime, a warning
to the darkies to stay
outside the stadium fence.
He came from German stock.

From that day on in 1939,
history maneuvered
my parents like chess pieces
until they occupied
adjacent squares in Munich.
They wrote a treaty
to run their fingers
through each other’s hair.
They were both born
with a good head of hair,
their gift to me,
and the only thing I want
to hear about bloodlines.

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Robert Lowes is a writer whose poetry has appeared in The New Republic, December, Tampa Review, Big Muddy, The American Journal of Poetry, The Christian Century, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and other publications.  An Honest Hunger is his first book of poetry. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He has coordinated the annual high school poetry contest of the St. Louis Poetry Center since 2013. In this role, he has recruited judges such as Naomi Shihab Nye and Jericho Brown, screened entries, and shook hands with the winners at award ceremonies.

A veteran journalist, he has covered the healthcare industry for more than 30 years, mostly notably as a staff writer for Medscape Medical News and Medical Economics.  On this sprawling beat, he has written extensively on healthcare reform, electronic health records, malpractice litigation, physician-assisted death, pharmaceuticals, medical education, infectious diseases like Zika and Ebola, Medicare fraud, and the opioid abuse epidemic. As an independent journalist, he has investigated white supremacist groups, profiled university presidents and newspaper publishers, and detailed the lives of career waiters.

He lives with his wife Saundra in University City, Missouri.

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