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.