The Awakening by Anna Cates

The Awakening

Night descends.
Shadows flit through the forest. In the middle of a clearing, a campfire crackles and fizzes with sparks.
A Nazi, in uniform, roasts a strangely-shaped flank over flame. Slowly, he cranks the handle.
Jews hunch like gargoyles in the gloom beneath the trees. They chortle gutturally, riveted.
The Nazi turns to address them. “This is what German men do with their women.”
Approvingly, the Jews chuckle, dazzled at the display.
The handle keeps creaking . . .

a psychiatric patient
rubs his eyes

Anna Cates resides in Wilmington, Ohio with her cats, Freddie and Fifi. She teaches college writing and literature and graduate education as an online instructor. She is the author of the following collections: The Meaning of Life and The Frog King (Cyberwit Press), The Darkroom (Prolific Press), The Golem & the Nazi (Red Moon Press), The Journey (Resource Publications), and the forthcoming Love in the Time of Covid (Wipf & Stock).

Editor’s Notes: This is a variation of the Haibun, which typically is a piece of prose followed by a related Haiku. Robert Lee Brewer in The Writer’s Digest describes the Haibun (a Japanese form popularized by Matsuo Basho) as a combination of a prose poem and one Haiku, which communicate with each other. The prose poem usually describes a scene or moment in an objective manner. In “The Awakening,” the four single lines can be thought of as four one-line paragraphs or can be thought of as lineations, in which case I would consider it a subverted form. I admire subverted forms.

Image credit: Distorted faces ( are combined with a swastika (