That Brat

by Anna Swir

In the morning when he began setting

the bottles of gasoline in the gateway,

the janitor swore like mad.

That brat

stuck his tongue all the way out at him.

In the evening the soldiers brought him back,

he had set a tank on fire.

Now the janitor swore more softly as he dug a small hole

in the yard for that brat.

Anna Swir [Świrszczyńska] (1909–1984) was a Polish poet who survived the brutal Warsaw Uprising. This poem is from Building the Barricade (1979).