three young men climb a larch tree.
OK. Two climb and one does not.
Why do I think it's October?
Because the men are dressed in jackets
and vests and trousers
much too heavy for summer
but not warm enough for winter.
That’s me. A regular Sherlock Holmes.
And why are they up a tree to begin with?
Hiding from someone, perhaps?
Surely they are too savvy
(look at the spectacles worn by
the one with his feet on the ground)
to think that a search party wouldn’t spot them instantly.
Hiding they are most definitely not.
To support my theory,
consider their body language which speaks
a Yiddish accented in-your-face-look-at-me braggadocio,
though their parents would use the word chutzpah
and find the outfits and the pose a sign
that their sons have forgotten their humble shtetl roots and will
(1.) bring shame upon their families by marrying Catholic girls or
(2.) turn history on its ear with their shenanigans.
And let us not forget the photographer-side-kick of the other three.
His momma and poppa (trust me) moan Oi vey, Oi vey
over their son’s revolutionary ideas and mutter
what’s the matter with kids today.
In Russian, of course.
But back to the picture.
On this October morning, with potatoes planted, kvas fermenting,
the samovar aboil, our photographer yells from beneath his black cloth,
But the three in the tree don’t say cheese. They don’t smile, either.
They live in that moment
and in future moments
the four comrades smell burning leaves, hear gunfire,
watch Rifkeh and the rabbi escape.
Ozzie Nogg © 2016