Reading the Russians in a Country Restaurant

Abandoned like an old boot,
my poor heart’s one big, cold ache
after last night’s break with my lover.

When love’s thwarted or lost, I turn to the Russians:
Chekhov, Akmadulina, Brodsky, etc.:
those somber and passionate restorationists of the heart.

On damp sheets they embroider a forlorn memory
of lovers pressed together for the last time, as for the first,
while outside, aspens shiver off their gold.

Oh, if I’d their canon of heartbreak,
I could drown in grief bitterly, allude wildly
to “The Canadian Lady with the Pet Dog”…beaver, moose…

Yet, taking up my own pen, I am a dour,
muttering muzhik whose thick tongue’s memorials
run as coarse as homespun socks or handkerchiefs….

Hunched in the Ayer’s Cliff Restaurant,
I sit here scribbling for all I am worth.
Lady, you dumped me and it hurts so bad.