Some Like Poetry

By Wislawa Szymborska

Write it. Write. In ordinary ink

on ordinary paper: they were given no food,

they all died of hunger. “All. How many?

It’s a big meadow. How much grass for each one?”

Write: I don’t know. History counts its skeletons in round numbers.

A thousand and one remains a thousand,

as though the one had never existed: an imaginary embryo, an empty cradle,

an ABC never read, air that laughs, cries, grows, emptiness

running down steps toward the garden, nobody’s place in the line.

We stand in the meadow where it became flesh, and the meadow is silent as a false witness.

Sunny. Green. Nearby, a forest with wood for chewing and

water under the barkevery day a full ration of the view until you go blind.

Overhead, a birdthe shadow of its life-giving wings brushed their lips.

Their jaws opened. Teeth clacked against teeth.

At night, the sickle moon shone in the sky and reaped wheat for their bread.

Hands came floating from blackened icons, empty cups in their fingers.

On a spit of barbed wire, a man was turning. They sang with their mouths full of earth.

“A lovely song of how war strikes straight at the heart.”

Write: how silent. “Yes.”

By daryl

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