It was dawn when they came to kill us. The bleak sun
of winter was only a whitening of the mist
over the far hills from where they came.
The earliest screams brought others from their houses,
and their cries roused more sleepers out to die.
My mother, who'd gone for water, was one of the first.
Young as I was, I still ran to protect her,
was stabbed in the chest and thigh and fell to earth
as she fell over me: lying there, I felt her
give three desperate gasps, as if the air
could anchor her to life, then breathe no more.