(04 October 1943 / Germany)

Liberation

They left her there, at the junction,
bleeding from torn rags that once
had placed her in the company of
the city's bourgeoisie, as one of them,
she should have known and listened
when the siren screamed its warning,
the ridge just to the South fully alive
with soldiers, small as olive beetles,
Kalashnikovs reflecting, dully, their souls,
they'd smelled like rancid beaver hide
and led the girls and all their mothers,
into the barns and to the school's gymnasium.
The men that had been left, fragile and old
were taken with their feeble voices to the wall,
where words inscribed read Rest In Peace,
they shot them all while grinning broadly,
and spread their rancid souls throughout,
like outcast animals in mean pursuit
of what the Devil wanted to have done.
A captain caught her eye, she beckoned,
and with a quick and desperate hand she took
the fully loaded weapon from his arm,
the sound was strangely dull inside her mouth.

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Comments (2)

vivid and memorable writing, Herbert. a powerful commentary without cliches. good work. a couple of minor things: line 6 should have a comma after 'warning' line 15 should read 'where' instead of 'were' cheers
You describe the evil horrors of war and what it does to men and women's lives so devastatingly well Herbert. I hope in liberating them on the page, as she did with her gun, you too will be freed from the memories, which must surely kill day by day. A very courageous write indeed. Perfect in every respect. Tai, trying very hard not to cry, but not succeeding...