by Barbara Siegel Carlson
I can have no bag beside me in this exit row. In an emergency I could be the first one out or the one trampled. Through the pre-dawn street to the Wroclaw airport the taxi driver slowed over each speed bump, the radio playing an American song about a broken heart. We rode between fields buried under a dusting of snow not far from the Owl Mountains. No one knows how many prisoners were worked to death inside them. Some of the ceilings were reinforced with concrete and steel. Others collapsed at some point after the war. No one knows how many exits were sealed before they collapsed and if anyone was inside. As we walked through one of the tunnels, the tour guide played a recording of guards shouting, dogs barking and dynamite exploding. When he turned out the light we stood in the pitch black, breathing. When he switched on the light rusted red stains splashed above a wheelbarrow. When the great horned owlet screeches it sounds like feed me, feed me. After the war a scrap of paper from a cement bag was found under a railroad track with a prayer scrawled on it.
Copyright © 2017 by Barbara Siegel Carlson.