By Irena Praitis
During the evacuation march, a 12 year old Ukrainian boy was shot to death one night when he asked, desperately, to leave the cellar where we were all housed, to relieve himself. Römhild Work Education Camp, 1945.
The boy pleads, and I remember mother
whipping me with the vacuum cord.
She’d caught me making farting noises
with friends. Shame! She raged,
You’re not an animal! Hide your dirt,
or you’ll be buried in it—
gentility designed to save us
that cost us our lives.