Snatched from the Farm: Three Sisters
One line consists of elderly and ill;
the other young and fit and working age,
who’ll get a bowl of drugged soup as their wage
and even get the hang of a new skill.
Two sisters in the “healthy” line now see
their sibling standing in the other row—
the sibling with the eczema. They know
that something doesn’t look right here. The three
must walk or die together. They’ve no choice.
The youngest sprints across the yard to pull
the “sick” one back. The trains will soon be full,
and when they stop, nobody will rejoice.
They’re off together rolling down the track,
three teens whose parents never will be back.
As fodder for the factories, they trekked
barefoot across the snow fields. Hunks of bread
were all that kept their reed-like frames erect.
One bitter morning, just beneath their tread,
they noticed spuds and scooped them up. Those raw
tubers they’d conceal and eat at night,
aware their persecutors had a law
prohibiting these girls from such delight.
In camp that evening, lined up in the quad,
the sisters, close amid the others, shook
as one in ten were murdered by the squad.
When the girl beside them dropped, they didn’t look,
but knew they had been spared. The following dawn
they held each other as they plodded on.
They walked and slept, but didn’t die together.
The Russians came and then the sisters set
their sights on Palestine, where each one met
a man, had kids, and then the crucial tether
that lasted through the horror snapped when two
stayed put and saw the youngest move away.
She watched her children blossom day by day
in a land of hope or, leastwise, somewhere new.
She and her family once owned a farm
in Bratislava. Now she’s in a place
where caregivers abound. The human race
will kill or comfort, dish out food or harm.
She dreams now, not of trials and ordeals,
but of the cows, the chickens, and the fields.