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18 the minnesota review Kevin Griffith The Pond Near Crematorium Four The Remains of 4,416 prisoners could be dumped into the pond daily... Of course, in the summer the fruit ripens, bursts and falls for the palates of insects, so I was not surprised when a wasp landed on my hand. I saw it for a fraction before it left its small signature of pain. I could only clench and squint away the hurt. Now in the summer our guide's red dress flaps, whetting a tension which builds as she leads us through the cautioning fields, each blade wind bent, an arm waving warning. But she stops; her arm defies the grass and sUps in the pond's rim. She lifts the precious bone chips and drops them on my hand, delicate as wasps. A Krakow Cemetery Shortcut Off Listopad Street the path leads through iron bars split with rust, past tombs crowded together like an island city, small brick houses and cathedrals overlayed, so close a sickle can't get at the weeds between. I stop to look at windows bronzed with dust, Griffith 19 names softened off stone plates above double slab doors. Some crack open, light enough to see nothing inside. We live on these absences, wheelbarrows piled over with browning carnations, flags for hands, green foam. Every day the government runs tourist buses to the old Jewish district left gutted since World War II. People walk past broken buildings, empty as the frames hanging in the National Gallery: "Painting taken during German occupation." The time I would have saved is gone. Snails curl over the worn stones, disappear into ferns. ...


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