Forced Labor
          for H. Cader
Thrust into the platz, wobbly-legged, bleating whatever it is boys bleat 
            When they’re on the bench, sized up and sized down, how strong, 
How much will he eat, can he learn German, what about his momma, 
            Will a beating or two knock her out of him, does he have lice, a disease 
We can catch, will he want a bed and clothes, need to bathe in the house, 
            Will he try to escape, get a message back to Krakow, scare off the other Scouts. 
And what would he be good at—the plow, the tractor, the hoe, the mower, the wagon— 
            Could he be taught to seed, prune, roll hay, harvest vegetables, carve wood, 
And what should we do with him later, how many years of the slave boy 
            In his shack by the barn, grown into a young man, interested in sexual things 
Young men get killed for when it doesn’t belong to them, can’t ever belong to them 
            With their blood subhuman and their brains primitive, by then old enough 
To be trouble for friends wanting to see themselves in the window’s reflection, 
            Not the bedraggled ghost of some kid snatched from a market in Poland, 
Only the dregs left, his life wrung from him like whiskey from a flattened leather flask. 
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