Poetry by Elizabeth Hawes

200 children stolen on July 1, 1944. Those left behind
hidden in Lithuanian crevices, under floor boards, in holes.
Polish, Russian, Lithuanian forest berries, “malinas”—
now whispered code for secret, hidden spaces
where concealed children, waiting for the Red Army, lay still,
days at a time in 100 degrees beneath SS feet. Decades later,
he plods up attic stairs. Teary-eyed and shaky to the attic with small
window. Window where he saw another little Jewish boy shot
in the head with a finger flick. Body left in the square,
unburied. Screaming machine guns and dogs. Weeping mothers.
He wiped his eyes, saying, under loose planks my mother
saves me. The stairs never leave. I see them when I dream.
At a stoplight. Making a meal. Still I lay still under floor boards. Still.