Kalinin—City of Tver

Dead of winter. Crack in the building wall.
My boyhood bed open to the winds off Volga.
The nanny asleep clutches the Greek Legends book,
the only reading light is frozen moonlight from the frosted window.

She read to me of Scylla and Charybdis of life of the grown-ups,
before I pretend asleep. Parents are just back from their friends’,
father talking a bit loud, mother hushing him:
don’t drink so much next time, moon getting dimmer,

I’m getting colder, wind picking up from the Great Steppe
beyond the ancient city of Tver, where once Wehrmacht infantry
turned into the frozen statues as if they met the last wave
of Mongol horsemen, seized in their flight further East.

Paper Street, 1/19/07

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