Poem of the Month
Reading the Russians in a Country Restaurant

By Steve Luxton

Published on December 4, 2012

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.

 

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