Sunday, August 20, 2017

Some Things the Memory Won't Let Go Of

Those Eternally Linked Lives 25 August 20, 2017

Finally, a letter from Yuri–three
typed pages, but my Russian is
half-forgotten. I get out my big 
dictionary. When I wrote to him
in late June, I’d been reading my
diary pages from when I’d stayed
with him and Vera twenty-two years
ago. He congratulates me on my 
Jubilee–eighty years–most of them 
writing. How they nurtured me back 
then, and they’re still alive. We both 
lost Mikhail, whom he calls Misha, 
and sends me a note he wrote Misha 
a month before he died. They both 
longed for their childhood villages–
gone now but never forgotten. Yuri 
remembers the yellow flowers under 
the cottage’s window. Mikhail remembers
being put upon a horse and seeing a 
pink sky, then falling off the horse. 
A recurring theme everywhere I went: 
the lost village, the rodina, birth village, 
lost and never forgotten. A holy grail 
to those who remember. He kept taking
me to see the village houses. Once I 
stayed in one. He took me into the taiga,
the wild forest, where his village had 
been until lost because of the push for
communal farms, and then the war
when twenty-seven million died
in battle or in prison camps. Some
things the memory won’t let go of,
as long as we breathe. We still love
those who loved us, and to whom
we opened our souls. It’s called:

reaching the heart.

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