and runs it down his cheek,
sloughing the crackling skin.
The kitchen window is misted
from the borsch in the pan.
By candlelight, she peels back
the gilded skin and deposits it
in the peelings bin. Why is his face
so featureless? She takes the tip
of the knife and carves beady eyes
and a slit of pouting mouth.
It's almost a year, and she's survived
this long, despite the evil onion.
She trims the roots and flattens
them down, remarking to herself
how earless he is. Just the fumes
of this tyrant can make her cry.
He's alive now, a pale face that gloats
as her country floats in darkness.
Calmly, she takes the knife and slices
him six times this way
and six times the other, then
six times, to be certain, from ear to ear.
She picks up the board and slides
his remains into the borsch
that bubbles with homely goodness -
something to nourish the kids,
a recipe her mother taught her.