Old Joe Kling; a Ukrainian Boy

Old Joe Kling didn’t have much to cling to at the turn of the millenium.
He lived in a rotting wooden caravan from the 1950’s, covered with a tarp;
to stop the leaks of wet seasons by the number: how many?

Who cared? He worked the tin mines and in the mill since,
Before cast to the outback smelter to be forged in heat was cast,
From the Ukraine Germans approaching from the west and Russians from the East,
The Russians got there first.

Young Joe was gathered at 8 years young, with mum and dad and little others,
To ride upon the cattle-train.

The stench of human detritus, flesh and shit.
A bucket of water to beg for, a piece of bread,
Unto the boreal forest.

The mosquitoes were many Joe once said, as he sat across the table,
Hand wrappedround a beer bottle of our own home-brew.
“They took my dad and gave him an injection because of his bad temper.”

Old Joe put his handkerchief to his mouth to block the spittle.
His eyes were cloudy but the tears had stopped long ago.