Cocooned, in the lions house then the pheasants house
outside Warsaw a Polish winter
glass walls, attic, keyhole they are in hiding
darker than gray ink
on a blotter
The Zookeeper is kind
has a jaw
like a lantern which lights up the cage path.
in the doorway to the foxes
Elms bite the sky
Calamity breaks in, day was night, filmic over
weasel who tucks into
No ghost soldiers who broke by
During the war across the ocean, in New York city Mother gave us black construction paper & scissors
on dark days.
They were darker than the day
rain clinging like shrouds
She herself transparent as a mirror:
that is to say
shining, reflective, but backed with mercury. Opaque.
I thought of soldiers all the day
daddy was away, a major
in my five-year-old life.
Later on the West side
despite swirling coal in the street lamps
visible from our corner bedroom eight stories up
All planes of existence in the zoological gardens
in Poland hiding Jewish people in cages
thinking in Yiddish in Hebrew bars of iron
One was off to interview the moon
camera in pocket
& pen in hand.
Underground the quail house tunneled into the main house
No fear of sadness.
was the dread:
one at a time
for those Jewish people
in hiding in this terrifying chess game
Children commended for silence have been taught (Pheasant must not sleep too near fox)
in a secret Ghetto school
to play in tiny areas, quietest ways to move, crouching in few movements like young tigers. All Ishmaelite from five years up. Blood
pouring thru the roses on their vests
Borsht is glassy red reflecting candlelight.
Au-revoir to the fellows at the fox farm
Au-revoir to tug of war between love & resentment
goodbye to boots for Jonathan
who steals into the peacock house where he’s locked inside again
in hiding, the baby sent to a foundling home lest his cries alert anyone, another baby under a tombstone in Warsaw:
in deep disguise in ink, faded vests with food, necessities
in morning before the housekeeper comes.