61. The Town’s Extermination
Bruno Schulz is leaving for Warsaw wearing
his same paint-spattered coat—he still gets out.
Stryj, Sambor, Żydaczów, and night. His valise
holds bread, his Kennkarte, wine—good auspices.
The day’s wild mission, Viennese in Gestapo uniforms
hunting for the town’s Jews, it’s all behind him now.
The help of friends, the Home Army—
they make no difference.
No one will stop him. Gendarmes walk the train,
they prod the two holes in a skull, in awe.
It’s 1942, November, the Messiah’s coming, seen
thirty kilometers away—the news travels
from town to town like fire, furtively. Soon he’ll open
the wine and eat. Meanwhile he stares into the night,
sees in the glass his face, completely black.