Notes on Akhmatova

“May God preserve your own child…How was the taste of my son?”

There were in the fields these little alpine primrose, clouds thin and pink as nerves. Ukraine, she holds kerosene in her mouth to dull the pain of her tooth. “I am your old conscience/Who discovered this burned story” scrape the gold leaf from the cupola, to hide it from the planes, a dark cloud now, among clouds and smoke. Elderberries crushed on the dust path. This balance of terror, you ascribe to. The baby’s ankle tied with a rope to the bed. “You wanted comfort, did you?\Did you know where it is, your comfort?” You can close your eyes from the back of the truck, the rain stinging your face, and you can see the tanks coming through the television, coming down this dirt road that passes through your heart. And out from the creek, a turtle, its shell like a skull. The glass that covers me was not shattered by a stone. “To die/ is not such a hard matter./ Creating life/is far more difficult.

Anna Akhmatova Reading Poems

(Quotes from Anna of All the Russias, By Elaine Feinstein, 2005