a hand. cont’d

August 25, 2010

A partisan from her village had been killed by a Nazi officer. His body was dumped by the river and morbidly sprinkled with earth. Each time I hear it I always wonder why they bothered to bury him at all. Is it a sign of some misshapen sense of human solidarity, this provisional sprinkling? The women are left to unearth and properly bury the dead.The living men cannot risk being seen with the dead. They come to the reburial in drag. Long shirts, headscarves drawn forward over their faces. Lusia, my grandmother, carefully composes the motions of dressing in her tragic pantomime. She holds an imaginary scarf tight at her chin and mimics the mournful, trembling gait of a man who has just lost his brother and fears for his own life. Heavy, wide set steps. A stumble. The carpet is the riverbank.


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