Pavlov’s House – Stalingrad, September-November 1942

Yakov says the Germans
call this place a fortress.
Floral wallpaper peeled
back around bullet holes.
Teacups and waffle irons
and a front yard of smoldering
Panzers, shot through their steel
heads because they got too

There is no food. There is no water.
There are bullet casings and landmines
and plenty of dead out in the square.
Not one step back, Stalin said.
Not one step back, Yakov said.
There is no where to step back to.