Semyon reads the latest death notice with flagging interest. He’s collected four of them now: one for each of his conscripted horses.
The Department of Personalized Losses Accounting sends detailed pokhoronkas. Each includes his horse’s assigned unit, how they died, and their burial method. Sometimes their commanders even enclose letters of explanation or condolence. It’s why he knows Pasha lost his wind carrying wounded partisans to safety. And how he learned Agrafena lies scattered across a once-undiscovered minefield.
But where, Semyon fears asking, is the pokhoronka for his son – missing since the night armed soldiers corralled him in their truck?
Alexander B. Joy holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His prose has previously appeared in The Atlantic, Nature Futures, Bright Wall/Dark Room, and elsewhere. He lives and works as a curriculum editor in his native New Hampshire, where he spends his leisure time reading philosophy and writing haiku. Twitter: @aeneas_nin.
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