Burnt stubble’s smoke was different. And dead leaves.
No putrid residue upon your skin
No ash snow that you mourn as if your kin
Bonfires of autumn. For which no one grieves
The year was dying. He had seen the grain
rot on the rotting stalks. A hungry year.
Soldiers eat then civilians. He knew fear
accounts of famine reckoned in his brain
he could not speak but knew. Saw every face
grow hungry hollow toothless. Smell the fire
as body eats itself. Beyond the wire
gold apples boxed. Set carefully in place.
So many names now absent when they call.
Starved, stacked, then burned. Or left just as they fall.