Lynn Powers 2006 All Rights Reserved

Moscow

in English sounds deceptively
soft. The measured exclamation
of the double Os, round as the onion
domes in the Square. Moskva:
theres a city to be
reckoned with. I am pliant
as an American without
the obvious giveaways,
camouflaged & avoiding the smile.

My first friend, Olga.
lives in an old palace with bile-
drenched stairs. Doors padded
in leather. These places were built
to cushion intruders.
Olga cooks wearing only a thong,
the twin white curves of her backside
disconcerting enough to be
a kind of welcome. Americans
are too puritanical about the flesh.

Olga: a good cook and a model mother.
I imagine the State
granted her the coveted
apartment. It's all a lottery here,
and esteemed professors of linguistics
rarely win. Her little daughter
tells me it was the final gift
from her long-departed Papa.
Departed where? I ask
but she only shrugs.

Maybe he is among the names
bold-faced in the paper, eliminated
in protest of excess. At Olgas,
the grimy armor of the metro
is dismantled. In her kitchen
dissolved
by cabbage steam
I am finally without
distinguishing marks.

 

The Butcher

Flirting fiercely with my mother,
black-mustached Georgian

virile with carcasses,
solemn deer faces still intact.

His apron blinding white, but the KGB
stops him every day for his papers.

My mother struggles home, riddled
with a suggestion of blood, to repackage

breasts & haunches
into bite sizes for a cocktail party.

 

Michelle Brown
Copyright 2006

 

MICHELLE BROWN was born in London and grew up all over Eastern Europe. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Poetry at the University of Michigan.


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