Bozturgay

18 May 1944, 10pm, Bahçesaray Train Station, Crimea

Then a silence as absolute as darkness.
Where are they taking us, asked a woman’s voice
from the opposite corner.
Then silence again.
To Siberia, replied a man’s voice
somewhat closer to me.
They are going to warm the frozen skies
with Tatar ashes!
Then silence.
Crematoria express, murmured a younger voice,
crematoria express.
Crematoria express, echoed multiple voices.
Crematoria express, someone chuckled.
Then another.
Then another.
Before long the whole car was shaking
with our laughter.
Then silence.
Then we started to sing Bozturgay,
that silly song about a bird.