Special trains packed with half or more of the populations of obscure provincial towns arrive every few hours. A guard with the manic eyes of a true believer asks a man who has just gotten off the train from Lvov to choose who should be shot first, the man’s wife or their crying days-old baby. His fellow guards are elbowing each other and grinning. If the man answers, it’s in a voice too faint to hear. That’s the kind of place this is. Enraged cows roam about with knives in their backs to make slaughtering easy.
Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.