We do not go to the ghetto, where the children’s drying clothes
hang on the barbed wire like examples, but burrow, instead,
between the roots of spruce, at daybreak learn to shoot
with the weapons Vitka brings. She’s wrapped in a fur coat,
the forest, lining train tracks with explosives,
gripping her pistol, asking Abba, “Do you remember when you taught me
how to hold a machine gun in my hands?” Crawling out of the woods at dawn,
snowy garlands in her hair. Poisoning three thousand loaves of bread
to feed the soldiers in void-black. Those mouths that never
knew such hunger melting over yeast and arsenic, those fingers pulling
the bread apart in the gentlest act they have ever known. Oh Vitka get your gun.
Under the duff, in our bunkers, we hold our breaths until the black boots
of deer march away.