• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 01
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how to denounce your parents

The bridge across the Volga is a triumph of Soviet engineering.
The van they crowded us into, however, was not.
It broke down at the tollbooth. They pulled us out and told us to walk.
I wanted to run home but the apartment blocks all looked the same.
Flat and featureless. The dwelling places like office blocks.
The office blocks like factories. The factories like abattoirs.

They told us we had denounced our parents. I did not remember this.
They walked us for an hour, crocodile-fashion, across the river
But when we reached the other side we found a city identical
To the one we had left. Yes, take a leaflet. No, I have not
Read them.  I do not want to learn to read. I cannot go back
Till all are disposed of. Correctly. They check.

Before I am sixteen I will be ordered to the front and I will go.
I will find my father. And return his hat.