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Lament for the Taste of a Dead Cat

 

Before our fail and our demise

The cold the same

The Hollow eyes.

 

First our horse and then the dog

No use wishing for a fat old hog.

But then came Christmas

Nettle soup; no salt

 

And no Noel, no tree

No potato and no beet

No fish bone soup.

All gathered ‘round our Stalingrad cat.

 

Oh how we loved that old grey cat

Wurst and cream, an occasional rat.

We stroked its fur

And scratched its neck.

Its belly too cried for its bread.

But a belly is an ungrateful boss.

Past food forgotten

And more wanted.

 

A quick slit and no remorse

It shed it blood and died for us.

A morsel each all we got.

All gathered ‘round our Stalingrad cat’.

 

Shuffling bloody footprints in the snow

Icy cutting killing blow

Eastward miles of gray lament

Backs broken on Siberian cement.

 

From the line forms fall out

Some collapse, a muffled shot

A butcher’s bill is paid in full

Peace declared, a soul departed.

 

Piercing cold has no remorse

The guards’ long knives a proving force.

Dogs’ bay freezes in mid bark

Hunger’s jealousy for his rib.

 

Another belt hole taken up

Iron rations 400 grams

a zek inhales a precious smoke.

Oh for the taste of that Stalingrad cat.

 

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The stomach never remembers … the belly is an ungrateful wretch, it never remembers past favors, it always wants more tomorrow.”

 

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