In coming days we'll thrust across the Volga
to make short business of the Bolshevik hordes
and leave their leader's city smoking ruins.
We'll get some rest and fatten up the horses
which pull supplies to save our fuel for tanks,
and settle in before the winter snow.

It's funny we're already seeing snow
in late September. Cold along the Volga
has most of us sleeping inside our tanks.
But we've got nothing to fear from the hordes
since they're so backwards, all they know are horses
and might be content to dwell in ruins.

Marching east, we left everything in ruins,
and piled up the dead like drifting snow.
We know that Slavs are stupider than horses
and must be driven back beyond the Volga
to guard our fatherland from dirty hordes,
who somehow have managed to roll out tanks.

We've all been surprised by their lucky tanks
which give us trouble fighting in the ruins,
allowing advances by surging hordes
that seem impervious to all the snow
and plunging temperatures along the Volga.
Cossacks attack us riding shaggy horses.

In cold like this, I'm glad we've got these horses
to retreat, since fuel lines froze in our tanks,
and fresh Red troops just walk across the Volga.
But now our leader wants to hold the ruins
and use the cover of the winter snow
to counter-attack and defeat the hordes.

Indoctrinated, suicidal hordes
keep charging over rubble like horses
and never get repulsed by slashing snow.
We're drinking anti-freeze that's meant for tanks
and burrowing deeper down in ruins--
lice-riddled Aryan knights on the Volga.

And now the Volga's overrun by hordes
that find us in the ruins, eating horses
as all our tanks lie frozen in the snow.

Excerpted from The Bell, forthcoming from Seven Towers, 2009.

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