Maurice Mierau ____
FRED ENGELS AND MY TEENAGE UNCLE IN DIFFERENT FIELDS, AT DIFFERENT TIMES
The earth a slaughterhouse, red snow
like the grape juice at Auxerre in ’48,
left on the street. Herr Engels cuts
across the field where his mistress
Mary waits, white arms open,
holding the bottle she already tastes
but the greatest pleasure he knows
is not training for revolution
or how she will please him tonight
but fox hunting, blood-sport in the field,
his horse above the hedge, landing on snow,
playing with millocrats.
The cotton spins into the night
and the god-ridden capitalists leave
the fields bare. He’s a godless millionaire.
Children drink cheap schnapps in the open streets,
at night when Mary eats tipsy-cakes, drinks ale.
She says, I’ll never leave you alone again.
I’ll never weep like those young women do.
Does she know when he clutches for her at night
that history is a snow goddess
who walks on corpses in a red, red field?
Before the fall of bourgeois snow, he feels
bored, puts his hand into her cleft.
They drink Château Margaux all night.
The bottle open on her lap, she seals
his reach with just one kiss. The left’s tedious
scruples do not bother him in the dark.
This sleeping French girl knows nothing
about him—lying splayed in the field
he sees the snow left purple with the dye
of the cotton mills belching at night.
The reactionary victims would not know
even after the melt that dialectical
materialism was a field whose crop
only grew at night. For example
my uncle knew they buried all the bodies after dark,
after ’45. He’d never tasted Château Margaux
or considered the angel of history.
Digging was hard too in Siberia, in frozen
earth. My uncle used a blowtorch
to warm the grave. He had trained as a mechanic.
Now he fixed a simpler problem—
open heat on permafrost.