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Published:February 21st, 2011 16:34 EST
Shattered Layers

Shattered Layers

By Ed Roberts

For a long time this has gone unwritten

There are stories we would choose to forget

We fail to post in our books of history

Yet we all know the result when we try and erase the past

 

Shattered Layers

 

It had been eight days

Eight days since the rations had run out

Eight days since any of the soldiers had had any food

The weather was unforgiving

Blankets upon blankets of snow

Covered everything

Even often covering their tattered tents

And make-shift lean-tos

As they tried to sleep

 

Uri and his comrades had scoured the woods

There were no deer

No squirrels

Not even birds in the sky

The last farmhouse that they had come across

Had been picked clean

 

A familiar sound had drawn their attention

It seemed to float through the trees of the forest

It had reminded Uri

Just for a moment

Of home

It was laughter

 

In the snow

Now Uri laid on his stomach

His whole body shaking

Not from the cold

But from a much deeper chill

Through the scope of his rifle he saw her

She could not have been more than twelve

Take the shot " his commander ordered

 

That night the soldiers ate

Stew

 

There are so many layers we put in place

To define our humanity

Separate us from the animals

In one action

One brief moment of horror

For Uri

That last one shattered

 

Ed Roberts 3/19/11

 

You might think this a work of fiction

You might think me a monster for even writing these words

This was Leningrad

This was 1941