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Snow in Poland

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Snow in Poland

Snow falls on the brittle leaves of birch trees,
their branches miraculously overlooked by the December wind.
It makes a sound like the marching feet of scary Germans rushing through Poland.

Snow, mixed with freezing rain, 
falls hard on the roof of an unheated barracks in Auschwitz,
filled with men and boys in pajamas.
It sounds not unlike the far-off thunder of the radio in the commandant’ s house,
the angry voice of the Fuhrer.

Snow, descending from the sky like shaved ice, on a brittle day, 
5 maybe 8 degrees.
It covers the makeshift roadblocks in the streets of Warsaw, 
making little mountains — so pure on the outside but fetid, rotten, corrupt beneath the fine powder. 
This snow, 
this ice falling to the ground, 
sounds like Russian boots jumping over the mountains.

Rain in Gdansk,
a fine mist,
the smell of the sea.
It covers the streets, where men whisper things that will someday be heard 
and old women fall on their knees to pray the Rosary.
This rain,
it smells of freedom.

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