“Mass Grave, Ukraine,” by Laura Lauth

This is a good story. So good you will forget and walk out into a honeycomb grid of black bark and hay, the orchard’s shifting light—and no one minds that you’re a stranger. Here, they ladder rows of sweet Opal, dividing market fruit from cull. In the meadow below, a man plays violin tuned in perfect fifths—an apple’s slender pedicel or a bird shot mid-flight. Above, mason bees dip and wheel. The Boh river flows past as it always has, and though confused, you look so beautiful with your elegant collar bones and mouth like an O–everyone’s saying so. And you are thinking very little when an old woman touches your spine: she says it reminds her of a song they used to sing while picking apples, a song so fine you won’t remember the children lined up like Pippins by the road or their faces planted deep below.


Printed with permission from Laura Lauth, copyrighted by Laura Lauth @ 2014. This piece, winner of the Spring 2014 Orlando Prize for Poetry, originally appeared in Issue No. 16 of the Los Angeles Review.

Author: A Room of Her Own

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