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).