After artwork by Vilem T. Eisner,
                                               a child at Terezin Concentration Camp

 With thick strokes
 Vilem outlined everything
 in black. Four small boys
 on a bench have their backs to us,
 facing two bunk beds.
 Signed at the bottom,
V.T. Eisner,
T like a bird
 that might land on the top pallet
 near the window where
 a lone cloud peaks through.

 School is forbidden, but perhaps
 one child reads to another,
 a story of someone lost on an island,
 something they've seen on maps.
 For this moment, they may imagine
 being surrounded by water,
 not close enough to swim to anything.
 And which of them has held
 a shell to his ear, listening to the drifting sea?

 When a guard walks in,
 they'll jump up quickly,
 hide the book beneath a pillow,
 move closer to the stove that eats the coal.
Gail Peck earned her MFA from Warren Wilson College. Her first chapbook won the
North Carolina Harperprints Award and her first full-length won the
Texas Review
Breakthrough Contest. A chapbook,
Foreshadow, and a full-length, Thirst, were
published by Main Street Rag. Poems and essays have appeared in
The Southern
Review, Greensboro Review, Louisville Review, Cimarron Review, Mississippi
Review, Rattle, Southern Poetry Review, Kestrel, Brevity
and elsewhere. She was a
2007 finalist for the Nimrod/Hardman Award. Her most recent chapbook is
(Pudding House Publications, 2008).