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137th Weekly Poetry Contest winner: Snatched from the Farm: Three Sisters

by Miles T. Ranter

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.

See all the entrants to 137th Weekly Poetry Contest