Size / / /

The kingdom was nameless

where we lived that year,

the kingdom to which our father

sent us to study mathematics

and art. We went by train, my

sister and I; he allowed us each

a portion of bread, a book

to read. I should have sensed

something wrong when I

first saw the shining dome.

It was made of lead, heavier

than all the glory in the world,

which was what our father

would have said. For me,

I closed a blind eye and studied;

learned about sin and co-sin,

things like that. As for art,

I was given to watercolor;

dreamy pictures of heaven

and earth—though oil was

tempting. Another temptation:

the river beyond the gate.

It was quite shallow. My sister

and I wandered past


Like our father told us, do the math.

We did. Still we never forgave

him for sending us there,

though we tried to feel mercy.

It was downright evil, all

that liver we had to eat.

But like everything, it got easier;

we prayed every night, until

we came undone.

Jeanie Tomasko ( is the author of Sharp as Want and Tricks of Light, with poems recently published in The New Guard, Qarrtsiluni, and Right Hand Pointing. Jeanie lives in Middleton, WI. Violet's application is pending for yet another supervised living arrangement.
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