poem won The
Formalist's 1995 Howard
Award. It also
won the New England
Club's 1996 Gretchen
Warren Award. – Ed.]
saw the mass grave at the Moscow Zoo.
sullen man dug up a human skull
held it high for journalists to view.
specialists arrived to cull
and clues from this forgotten plot
which the zoo still plans to cage a bear.
experts guessed these prisoners were shot
special reasons; no one was aware
comparable scenes at urban sites.
one knew if these bones belonged to spies,
Jews or zealous Trotskyites,
none of us displayed the least surprise
bureaucrats emerged from quiet cars
hint this might have been the work of czars.
A.M. Juster; originally printed in The Formalist;
used by permission of the author.