"To live your life is not as simple
as to cross a field." Winterbitten
casehardened Muscovites, thatís what they tell
themselves, their kin, those they love.
You know how it is, comrade.
Distance is studiedly white over there,
People far apart as fence posts.
First of a family went off to Moscow
working at affairs of state, he learned
ways to trade proverb for proverb in wise
street markets breathing clouds.
The next wants to keep the conscience
of a backblocks commune. The youngest
brother took to the road Ė now he has
a goat, the goat has mastitis. His best
dogís paws are getting crippled. His pet pig Ö
in Holy Russia such stories, commonplace.
Anywhere between people fences and spaces,
some style or other of forbidding or defeat.
If I stand at a point where fences meet,
I can look to another corner. Is that you
over there? Truly, is it you?
To cross a field, sometimes that isnít easy.
Selected Poems. AUP 1989, p. 137.