My father refuses food from anyone’s garden.
He knows how they grow those big tomatoes.
You dig a dead Jew in your soil.

That’s how they did it in Poland
the year the postcards stopped.
That year of the bumper crops.
That year they fertilized their fields
with bone and ash.

Better the cans of soup that line the cellar.

Sometimes my mother can’t help it.
She stomps a few seeds under her heel
and prays for rain.

If he catches her he calls her a Kapo.
If she stoops to pull a weed
he pulls his hair. He remembers what happened
the last time they weeded Europe.

The disciplined ranks of tomatoes.
The cabbages in their rigid, orderly rows.
The peasants with their sharpened hoes and sickles.

Smoke from the trampled heaps of weeds in the ditches
still stings his eyes.

He refuses to let one tear
water the ground.

From The Survival Rate of Butterflies in the Wild