Babushka the Moth

Khatyn, Belarus, March 22, 1943

Babushka the Moth
committed her children
into the stern care of Ruchka,
the schoolteacher wasp,
all save tiny Pulja,
who was still sleeping
and could not be
woken.

Keep them safe,
Babushka the Moth pleaded,
Do not let them see this.
They will not be stung,
the Wasp replied
but from there,
the little ones could have
no more kisses
and Ruchka was gone
the little ones with her,
all save sleeping Pulja
and Babushka the Moth.

With the door nailed shut,
nestled down between the
floorboards and the dust,
Babushka the Moth
held her tiny Pulja
to her breast,
and burned with the rest
of Khatyn’s innocents.

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