Sunday, January 10, 2021

Talking to Myself Fifty-Seven


The village post office.

*****

Talking to Myself Fifty-Seven January 10, 2021


I live in a democracy, which some

discount, including our president.

We want him gone. He still has

ten days, but how much damage

can he do? Too much, we fear. 

The one we want is waiting in the

wings, waiting his turn. He was

elected. Some cried that our votes

didn’t count. So many absentee

votes made a difference. It was

the lawless crowd we worried

about. No respect for other people,

no respect for our democratic

traditions. An old man in the

post office leered at me, came 

close. “How you doin’, honey.”

I kept going. I had packages 

to mail. This was not the Capitol

building in D.C. This was in the

village post office. When I’d

mailed my packages, he was

gone. The signs said to stand

six feet apart. He was not even

one foot from me. Gone when

I came out, yet, in reality,

how far away?

 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Talking to Myself Fifty-Six


"First Snow" by Nikolai Smirnov. A Kostroma Region village farmhouse.


Talking to Myself Fifty-Six January 3, 2021


All around me: photos and paintings,

and a Finnish poster. My loved ones

take up wall space. I’ve been in this

room most of the time in most of last

year, staying safe from the virus that

kills. The poster over my desk is of

glacier-cut Finnish islands, a jigsaw

of forests in an impossibly blue sea

over my desk where reside printer,

fax, and scanner, and my Bach records.

To the right the wall holds Rumyantsev

forests, an abandoned village against

a golden fall. To the left, Nikolai Smirnov’s

roads, his mother’s village and her

small figure. Also Lyuba’s image of

her sister Vera emerging from the

forest like a modern Demeter. Then

that sister’s painting of the Krukov

Canal. Above the computer table, 

the face of Esenin--such sad eyes.. He

was forced to kill himself, his last

poem written in blood. Beside him

Vera’s flowers, and below Nikolai’s

rendering of the Kostroma city

center, and still lower, the Ipatievsky

Monastery from across the Kostroma

River. Behind the computer on a 

shelf, the Virgin’s Annunciation by

Lyuba, and my twin grandchildren,

and my friend Jaki and me. The back

wall has a long one of a village field

of dandelions, the coming of spring

with cranes flying. I thought it was

fall before I had my cataract surgery.

Aleksei’s forests and Nadya’s pink

landscapes, the ruins of Goncharov’s

home, and the enlarged flower by Doc

Ellen–all above the chest freezer where

I store my bread flours and keep all 

my published books on top, and 

a photo of me in my father’s arms

at age two. The back door holds old

Christmas cards, and the wall beside

it, two paintings by Roman Smirnov

of water and trees. Behind me, Smirnov’s 

village farmhouse, the Golden Autumn

giving way to the First Snow. Farther away

my son Tim’s memories of New Mexico,

and Julia’s colors, which I chose that go with

Tim’s. Also, from a magazine, Botticelli’s

 Arrival of Spring after Winter’s Deadlock.

May it arrive soon.