One Night in Moscow

At dawn a distant grumble of quarry blasting reminds me
of resentment under the flesh. You laugh at how simply

I leap from this effect to that. Dew glitters on the last weeds
of the season. Garden tools rust in the grass, abandoned until

I recover them from early snow, clean and oil them for next year
when I’ll resolve to wield them with proper suburban respect.

On foot in Moscow past midnight, years ago, before the gangsters
reclaimed the city, I shrank inside myself under a moon

discolored as if dipped in brine. Dragging a briefcase crammed
with corporate secrets, I wept because the shadows got so thick

I couldn’t elbow past them. The gray old city resisted me
with its barbed language, the sighs of prisoners, the grunting

of dissatisfied secret police. No cars troubled the streets but
a distant grumbling much like that quarry blasting aroused me

to quicken my steps and push through the shadows and reach
the hotel panting and teary. You haven’t noticed that lately

my tears are streaks of rust, but that night in Moscow you clung
to my surfaces and textures, assessing their fit and finish.

Today’s sunrise with its murmur of harmless cloud resembles
the sunrise that followed in Moscow, but lacks your familiar touch.

You’ve replaced yourself with humor broad enough to map then dismiss
distances greater than here to there, even punctured by explosions.

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire (USA). He has published three critical studies. His poetry has appeared in many journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A Black River, A Dark Fall (Splash of Red, 2018).

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