Young Pioneers

My father was a man by Roman standards

when at the age of seventeen

he fled the Caucus mountains.

A Jew was known to flee Baku and not just freely move

to the big yellow city

sunk in the frozen white river Neva.

Then marry the wrong kind of woman with

no wish for weekly candles.


On the subway ride home he was often seesawed to sleep.

Father reeked of stolen pine trees

cut and sold for Soviet New Year.

An old man with spoiled milk blue eyes

pushing towards the exit said,

podvinsya chernozhopuy—move over black ass.

And so he scrubbed himself small like

a carrot on a cheese grater.



3 thoughts on “YOU WERE NEVER HERE

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