"The Sex of Stone"
We erected a God two years ago; a horseman. He made the earth tremble
creases in rocks—rocks sharp to cut barefoot flesh if provoken late in the
We have proven slaves to stone and to our village.
Her sons have helped the monument stand, made balance a pallid platform.
So, salt and water are: our arms sore; lips sour; heads sick with strength.
if a stone sweats long legs of tears,
it is the monument of a revolutionary
sword high, ruthless, almost brute
length and passion.
stone so cold in his eyes, burning
with the same fire once used to mend that metal to the shape of tyranny, now
The villages no longer live.
No Boyars to tend for them, like in the olden days.
Time, it seems, has gulping, forward-facing eyes, making places a temple
Often times, places are the body
of bodies of people.
One’s body degenerates once the fleeting, meager specimen who made it live
are searching…urbanizing, like caviar born to search for distant lands.
Only the statue of the infamous still stands, but the mother
We hid, put away like an old
Rag in a closet—her sons. It is so like the sea
To vibrate shells smooth, but forget the sharp-faced
Two years later, we found her dead
Like that village of straw.
After the snowfall of
The sweet white season, birds dare not
Intrude on silence. A tasteless blanket, after the blue tint
Of numerous snowflakes. A mummy gorged in dust.
Half rocking in an oak coffin of a chair,
Decomposed like the flesh of her black gown;
A blue apron like once her eyes, now maggot
(Usually, the villages had self-service
funerals—old moths in front of supple furs with no wings.
They would not let a man be Christened rest—the Orthodox way—until
Far from place of death. In a forest, they held it,
In his nose, ears, mouth, really any weak hole
So the dead senses would not bleed fresh decay)
Even those were not here for this mother. She grew empty
Mold, moss. One hand on her stomach, the other
On the armchair, as if she was about to stand up and
That mother: her arms broken violins and fingernails
Peering out—under-fur latex strings. Those hands
Tired many a thread, winnowed many a color.
Not stone-iron stiff of a great man.
We erected a God two years ago, then left.
That village is only seven hours south of Moscow through a long
Dirt passage, weeds worshiping the edges, envious, lusting for
space. Lone trees and kin at their toes. The sun shows he is several hours
past gone—oh it is a bronze age —this drive—a primal age. The green barely
feelings of coming darkness we are anxious to touch, smell
the old termite-infested wood and knit, square red patterns of bread
and musk-scented cloth.
We pass by the eternal monument of the
Rider. He says the darkness, an insected time,
has not come. We look out the window
And wonder a fire. If you drop a match,
how will the moist skin of leaflets burn?
How will her skin burn—the mother of the stone skin
It is a dying season—this fall. Past pyre and twice a
Year long, stiff
<new book: my poetry is hack on the street: Olesya Mishechkina: available: New York City Poetry Festival 2014<<<<