A Stalin with a Skirt…

On the top of the Hill hung the shop, the people’s council, the dispensary, and the school, all lined up back to back. The party had built them, out of love for the people ‒ so they said. Over the top, the hills were lined with rows of trees: apples, pears, plums, apricots, walnuts, and peaches. Again the party, bless them, and again for us.

On Sundays, all the children of the village kicked the ball in the schoolyard until we were ravenous. Then we went raid “our” fruit orchards. We never got so far. Sturdy watchmen with thick, long sticks appeared among the trees and beat us to a pulp. They also belonged to the party, also for our sake.

Ana Pauker had done them all, even the party. She happened to pass by our village on the way to Sibiu. Coming out of the GAZ on top of the Hill to pass water while the engine cooled down, with her skirts up, she looked at Lovistea all the way up to the crest, sighing deeply. She looked again, and again she sighed. Then she called out to her driver and commanded.

“Write down, dumdum, here we will set up an agricultural production cooperative, to celebrate the victories of our socialist party…”

History repeats itself today, as yesterday, in other places and with other names. Oh, Belarus, oh Belarus

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