Don't send bread tomorrow

Kragujevac, October 21, 1941 - May 25, 1985

Marched out of town, herded in huts and barracks,
from workshops, factories, offices, prisons,
classrooms, living rooms, and off the city's streets,
they heard shots outside, knew their own deaths near,
and on scraps of paper emptied from pockets
scribbled quick messages to loved ones.

Dad – me and Miša are in the old barracks
Bring us lunch, my jumper too and a rug
Bring jam in a small jar
Dad see the Headmaster if it's worth it
I'm OK how are things at the mill
As for that raki great you've sent it

Carpenter, tavern keeper, cobbler, clerk,
locksmith, gunsmith, foundry worker, priest,
the teacher who refused a collaborator's rescue
but chose instead to step out to his death
with the schoolboys he taught, calling
Go ahead. Shoot. I am giving my lesson. Now.

Tell the comrades to fight till they crush the enemy
I'm done for but let them wipe out the vermin
My darling wife maybe we shall never meet again
Write to my mother tell her everything
For the sake of whatever's dearest to you revenge me
Children revenge your father Stevan

And forty four years later, a young father carries
his toddler on his shoulders, chubby arms waving,
carefully around a flower bed, hoists the child
to perch astride their grave, while he crouches,
hidden behind a slab, and calls to his kum,
Go ahead. Shoot. Take a photograph. Now.

Tsveta goodbye take care of our children
Mira kiss the children for me children listen to mum
My dear sweet children your dad sends you his last words
Goodbye I'm going to death may God protect you
Forgive me if I offended anybody in my life
Don't send bread tomorrow