A Polish Worker, on Seeing a Ditch Filled with Bodies Before He Is Shot, Remembers a River from His Childhood

Each night, the living ask themselves, “How will
I die?” The words are never spoken, though
they breathe within all other words and give
them motion, force, the way the hollow bones
of birds grant flight. Beside a river, stones
are lifted from the mud and held between
a young boy’s finger and his thumb. The rows
of stones the boy has placed on shore will bleach
and speckle, never hatching, never seen
by anyone except the boy who stacks
them carefully, bends slowly, kneels, the scene
so soon forgotten and the riverbank,
the way the river digs into the land,
becomes a wordless grave of water, sand.