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The House in Plauen
Meanwhile, he dies and the house in Plauen
smolders under friendly fire. The city, pantry
for materiel and jam, hungers to be bombed.
Executions swift and efficacious--
the Rent-a-Jew program will be needful
so the kids can say they've met a live one.
Gruss Gott means hello and farewell.
Narrow river crossing between that day and this,
a deckled book of finders keepers--
don't pick up the pen--salvage your name.
Barren hours; the ravens know it,
and hens that will not lay, not because of tomatoes
since the scraggly bushes will not bear.
All depends on eggs, boiled, cooked in ash,
wrapped up in a coat pocket, tying up the guts.
Meaty in the woods, eaten without torchlight,
sauced with erntedank. * Cook some up with stones.
If the hens do not lay, lick the stones.
Let's see--brother and sister, a cruel folk tale.
What a terrible thirst the boy endures,
warned off by each brook, threatened with
the loss of his simple human form.
Dreams the garden of that house for sixty years;
in dreams does the sister marry a king.
And the roebuck, even with his collar of gold chain,
will always be a roebuck. It can only be weeks
before the hunters chase him through the woods again,
greedy for his horns, his perfect tawny hide.
Come into the house in Plauen. First its floor was moss.
Then hard-packed earth. Then mortar shells.
Now, moss again.