A Voice from the City

And why, Nephew, does this engine make you sad?

The night before the Communists invaded the city my uncle sat at the stone table and was transfixed by a dozen ripe bananas lying there. "Aren't they wonderful, Nephew? Isn't it wonderful that we should have such fruit in our house? We are luckier than all the kings who ruled Cambodia-they could have all the bananas they wanted but as sated as they were, they could never eat them." My uncle was not an optimist; he had simply grown unclear in the head. He didn't sleep, he sat up all night at the stone table staring at the bananas—two days later they dragged him to the outskirts of town and shot him in the face for wearing eyeglasses.

1975

 

 

A Voice from Sixty Years Ago


Even while waiting in the anteroom of the crematorium, I wanted to believe in this world. All day long, they brought the bodies into the camp in boxes once filled with diamonds. It was then I cried hardest and longest. It was then I knew not only that life is not worth living, but it is wrong, it is wrong to be alive.

 


Louis E. Bourgeois is an instructor of literature and writing at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi. His collection of poems, OLGA, is due out in the fall from WordTech Publications.