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My childhood in old Kashubia

Sue Jamieson


the damp soft ladders of morning

potatoes ash-coated from the fire

men who sleep under their women’s skirts

birch-rafts poled through the silver marshes

stepping storks pile twigs on top of towers

the nest wide as a wheel, in wind and snow


Come here, little one, out of the dark cupboard


Baba cried quietly on All Saints’ Day

for her village boys, gone for long time

forever in fact, just the memory

of the rumble as thousands of tanks mowed

harvests to mud, with arms, legs, shoes


my chestnuts, my orach, my tin drum

all stashed so the soldiers would not steal

what kept us living, whistling, playing

and not a soul with me in the cellar

on my Name Day, only dark and hunger

like an angel, silent, glistening


When shall I come out, Baba? Tell me…


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