Present











It is a Sunday
The time before Christmas
Outside the dead are being collected
Through a crack I watch the wagon
Shaking on its high wheels
Driving off over the snow
to the crematorium
Its grey cloth filled with wind

There may be more food
More wood for the fire
I remember last year
they gave us jelly
I remember how red it was
against the grey metal
How sweet in my mouth
the forgotten taste of summer

Through seeing others die
hands spread over bellies
mouths gasping for breath
I have learned many things
Not to eat the raw cabbage leaves
that look like oiled parchment
Not to drink the unknown water
yellow from the pipe