Little Zosyia


 

1.

She worked in the kitchen at the convent in Grosse Pointe

:::Before or after the rape:::

for board and room A young girl earning her keep and that little bit extra to give her grateful mother next time she went home to the near east side    The cook taught Zosyia the usual – a thing or two and then some – a recipe for a three layer cake  The value of calluses – better than money in the bank – on the palms of her hands

Let this scullery maid earn some of those whirling the wooden spoon around and around in the batter the cook who went home each night to her family thought

but not to herself Get a move on girlie! When the cake is in the oven – tiptoe tiptoe – we’ll roll out dough

and cut up apples and squeeze lemons for a few pies    Deep dish apple lemon meringue –

it’s not as hard as it looks don’t worry – and lattice crust cherry  You’ll know a dessert or two

when I am done with you            Men love women who can cook

Like Cinderella forced to sleep in the ashes of cold fires Zosyia had learned not to speak

Children should be seen and not heard was not a difficult rule to follow

Her inclination was silence    The three monkeys:::hear no evil:::see no evil:::speak no evil

were her totem

Some children had to kneel in a corner by the hearth on dry peas beans until one parent or another relented

A torturer bored with the pain and on to something or someone else    Her parents were not so cruel

2.

Years later not long after the War ended Little Zosyia took the bus from Hamtramck to the convent carrying

her first living child – a girl – in her arms              In the chapel Mother Superior held her up

:::a burnt offering::a sacrifice:a promise

and dedicated the infant to the Virgin Mother

Now the baby was protected Zosyia had time to look out the window          Swank homes and

spacious yards receded and the city crowded her view          The rhythm

of the bus made her head nod but she couldn’t fall asleep and miss her stop      It was too far to walk

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3 thoughts on “Little Zosyia

  1. This reads like the opening pieces of a long proetry narrative. More here or elsewhere?

  2. Christina Pacosz says:

    Thanks for reading this poem on New Mirage Journal online. I have an unpublished prose manuscript A Simple Story which weaves the familial, including my mother who is Little Zosyia, with my 1988 journey to Haiti to research Poles who had settled in Haiti at the invitation of Dessalines, leader and revolutionary. Not much is known about this connection to Poland and Haiti during Napoleonic times. Or my family’s sad histories, so I wanted to include both. Bits and pieces have been published here and there over the decades, but the entire ms. has not. Hopefully it will be a part of my unpublished work slated for the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library.

  3. Christina Pacosz says:

    I realized that I also wanted to emphasize that this prose poem is relatively new writing, in the past two years or so. I was prompted to honor my mother by re-telling the story in this manner since the bigger book about it all wasn’t forthcoming. Thanks again for your interest.

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