Surrounded by the Iron Curtain, all things faded faster:
suits slicked at the elbows and especially the knees,
shoes scuffed as though from constant kicking.
You, too, magician of my childhood,
conjuring something from nothing
in the single bare bulb
lightened to a negative of yourself -
pale blue pajamas and thin long-fingered hands
folded on the white sheet,
all around you the lush blooms, the industrious Soviet summer.
My mother is all smells and sounds of waiting,
the click click click of distinctly confident
heels in the dark hallway,
the anticipated familiar mix of perfume and cigarette smoke
when I reach for her hand at the crosswalk,
the poised T-shape of them on the small stage
as her partner lifts her up,
and I am in the corner with pencils and a coloring book
forgetting what I’ve been told,
pressing down too hard on the paper.
After She Left for
I woke to find a pomegranate on my doorstep.
Missile or missive?
Red, chambered complexity; a delicate grenade.
Teasing out the kernels of pleasure,
would I remember the sundial of her belly,
the sunset at the horizon of her waist?
Oh, I would move through her as a hand
moves through steam rising from the kettle.