Monday, February 29, 2016

The long and short of you, Dmitri,
is the long and short of me, though mine
arrives without fanfare. As I sit on my
porch and gaze at the yard my only
music is the double helix of memory
and renewed disdain for other people.

You, with your specs and proletarian
necktie, sit keyboard-stunned, for as you
noted she was a woman desired only
partly, the objective Sofiya reclining
on whatever tacky floral couch
the Bureau had provided.

So was it written, and so, in the heat
of our Soviet season, was it also done—
that march forward through history
and history’s illegitimate cousin
Ivan, a drooling amateur, my double,
both horse-like and a clothes horse.

Yet Ivan’s keen eye for floral abundance
kept you looking for something you knew
wasn’t there yet sensed was real—
or at least real enough to taste
in memory, napping on a rattan
of a wraparound porch distinctly American.

This was your—is our—“muddle
instead of music” and the sound of our
trudging through acres we do not own
toward village lights that have never shone
on us, carrying only our instruments
and, as luck would have it, our papers.

• • •


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