Saturday, 18 June 2022

'DP Camp 713, Aschaffenburg, August 1948' by Alexandra Otto

Vladyslav chases floating dandelion seeds around the barracks.

My son doesn’t know they’re weeds. Unwanted, squeezing through cement cracks to survive. In America, we’ll grow our own beets and cabbage.

I recall the Ukrainian national anthem: ‘enemies vanish like dew at sunrise,’ sung in my husband’s steady tenor. I traded my wedding ring to a guard for immigration papers. A widow’s bargain.

Dandelion stalks meet Vladyslav’s ankles. Then knees. Other mothers’ faces harden like drying cement as we wait.

Without warning, foreign aid trucks arrive for us. Exhaust fumes blast dandelion tufts through the gate. They flutter, free, toward sunrise.

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