plunged his face in a stream, fed some snowmelt to Red, and we went on.

For days we traveled, first light until last. We went through a vil age where the four-faced clocktower told three different times. The shops were open and the market was bustling. When we entered the square Grandfather's shoulders went stiff.

Some Hlinkas were gathered around the church steps, laughing and smoking. They fel silent when they heard the clopping of our horse. An armored truck came from behind the clock-tower. Quiet now, said Grandfather. He whipped Red's rump and we left quickly, out past the church and into the countryside, far away.

Fascist snakes, he said.

We knocked on every door, looking for food, and late in the evening we came upon a laneway with high brambles. A stone house sat surrounded by high trees. A cat watched from a windowsil . Grandfather bartered with a peasant to repair a gable wal in exchange for some soup and a little money. The peasant said, Go ahead and fix the wal first. Grandfather said, I can't with the child so hungry, look at her, we need money for food. The peasant said, If I give you money you'l run off and gyp me. Grandfather held his tongue and said: I'l build the wal if you give the child food.

The peasant came out from the house, balancing a smal bowl of borscht for us to share. We drank from the same side of the handle-shorn cup.

The soup was measly and watery.

There are times in a fountain's life, Grandfather said, when even it must learn to swal ow piss.

We stayed that night in the weedy field behind the peasant's house. The peasant had a radio, and we heard it faintly but there were no reports on the kil ings. I leaned in close to Grandfather and asked why my family had not bolted across the ice, and he said to me that my father was strong but not strong enough to escape the fascists, and my mother was strong but with a different strength, and my brother surely attempted but was probably beaten back. He looked away then and said: The Lord or whoever have mercy on the soul of your youngest sister.

When the dark was ful y down, Grandfather pul ed hard on his tobacco and said: When ice breaks it sends out a warning, child. The Hlinkas ringed the lake with their fires and waited for the day to get warmer. We were lucky they never found us.

He ran the blade of his knife along his thumb. I asked how deep the water was and what happened when the ice got thinner, but Grandfather said no more questions, they would be mule soon, spirit, they did not want to be disturbed. Maybe they were able to swim away, I said, under the ice. He looked at me and sighed. I asked if the horses were spirit too and he said no more questions, girl, but later in the evening, when the night had fal en upon us, he lay down beside me and said that he did not want to think about what the first crack was like, nor the screaming of the horses, nor the creak of the wheels, nor the breath of the soldiers, nothing at al . He pinched my cheek and told me a story instead about nails and a forge and a sky that was pushed into place with strong hands, and he finished it off by saying that good things would be built in the long days to come.

In the morning the peasant came out of his house and said, Away with you.

Grandfather slapped Red on the rump and asked her to leave a big steaming one for the peasant outside his house, but she did not. We went on, but that became his favorite saying, and then his never-ending joke, whenever we got somewhere he did not like: Go ahead, horse, and shit.

No smal turn of my grandfather's head was lost to me. He was made up of elaborate things. He had three shirts and he did not believe a man should have more. The open col ars were folded down outside the lapels of his black jacket. His enormous mustache curled and the hairs on his chin were long. His nose was bony and it had been broken many times. He wore a Marx pin on his hat, but he always removed the hat before we got near a vil age, stuffed it in the waistband of his trousers where it made his jacket bulge. The pin would only bring trouble, he said.

He liked to smoke very thin rol ed cigarettes, he held them between the fourth and little finger of his right hand. The grapevine turned his fingers green, and the smel of the tobacco drifted back over the air.

As far as he knew, Grandfather was thirty-nine years old. My grandmother had escaped this world years before I entered it. He kept a photograph of her inside his jacket, but half of her was worn away from forever coming in and out of his pocket. They had been mother and father to many, but al except one were already buried. The last one stil alive had taken gadzi-kano ways, which meant he was dead too. Nobody said anything about him anymore, not even his name. From my earliest days Grandfather had cal ed me Zoli, a boy's name, after his first son. Sometimes, when I was cal ed Marienka, I would not even turn to answer. He said that the most important thing about names were the namers, to hel or high water with what anyone else said. We are ful of names, he said, we always wil be, that's our way.

We drove on, Grandfather and me, we left it al behind: the chocolate factory, the tire plant, the rivers and the mountains. We cal ed the mountains the Shivering Hil s, though of course they were the Carpathians. He wore shiny knee-boots with concertina creases at the ankles and the right boot was split at the back seam. I liked to lean out from the back of the caravan to watch it, it looked like it was speaking, open and closed, open and closed, though there were long stretches of road where it didn't say much at al . I was not old enough yet, daughter, to know why my family had been driven out on the ice.

The spring before, I remember waking early one morning, me, my brother, and my older sister. My mother and father were sleeping, the baby, Angela, too. I peeped into the zelfya, which was hung from the ceiling, and watched her little chest rise and fal . We tiptoed out, down the three steps. The sun had not yet ful y risen. Outside the fields shone green and white. Most of the other children were already playing outside. There were twenty of us, maybe more, making a lot of noise. Father came to the door and threw his slipper at us to make us quieten.

Shut up! he shouted.

We hushed and went towards the fields, near the factory, and crossed the low wal , made of tires. It gave a tiny bounce. My shoes were made from rubber too and they squeaked when I landed. We looked out over the field of frosty grass.

The game we played was to see who could find the longest sleeve of ice. The greenest blades were best since they stood tal and straight and did not bend over with the weight. Slowly we went through the field, over the hard muddy ridges of ground, searching. I could hear my brother shouting how he ‘d found a sleeve, possibly the biggest sleeve ever, you could fit your finger in it, maybe even your arm. We pushed and shoved and

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