“I am the last . . .”

I am the last Napoleonic soldier. It’s almost two hundred years later and I am still retreating from Moscow. The road is lined with white birch trees and the mud comes up to my knees. The one-eyed woman wants to sell me a chicken, and I don’t even have any clothes on.      
       The Germans are going one way; I am going the other. The Russians are going still another way and waving good-by. I have a ceremonial saber. I use it to cut my hair, which is four feet long.

“I am the last . . .” from The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems, copyright © 1987 by Charles Simic, reprinted by permission of Harcourt, Inc. This material may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means with the prior written permission of the publisher.
Source: The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems (Harcourt Inc., 1987)
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