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streetlights

There is no easy way to say it. I was married to someone I hid from. Tucking E into a sling, I would disappear for hours saying I was going shopping for dinner, and if she fell asleep the excuse was that she needed fresh air as I sat on a park bench with her tiny hand grabbing my pinky until she eventually woke up. I would make my way along the side streets of Greenwich as the sun went down, leaning into store windows but not going in. Eventually I would go home, and as I turned the corner there was a security light that would switch on - obviously attached to some motion sensor. In those strange and lonely moments, I would talk to that light. Each time it clicked on, I felt somehow that the night ahead could be survived no matter what madness waited for us behind the front door.

That was twelve years ago.

Another life, another country.

Today, I turned a corner in Moscow with an all-too familiar bag of groceries swinging from my shoulder. A street light flickered on and all at once I…

jholtei ghorka (the yellow slide)

The yellow slide,
a dirty macaroni
shape
children clawing their
way backwards
and then
swirling down.
She wanted to
every time,
taking the short green
one instead.
Playing in the sand
making star shapes
and little cakes.
Quietly, I brought
her to the
bottom.
We sat, even
lay down and
looked up at the
clouds.
I began pulling her
by the hands
up a few
feet,
then letting her go.
She was terrified
like our kittens
during a
thunderstorm.
And we returned, each
time a few
extra inches
me letting her
go, then
catching her.
“Papa, will you catch me?”
She asks, every single
time.

There was a great
red rooster
when I was
a boy.
I wore jeans each
summer to avoid
getting pecked
during his daily
attacks.
I banged pots
and pans together
got the dogs
after him
but he kept
coming
until he died
and we made a
great soup from him
which I savored
for hours
sitting at the dinner table
long after everyone
had gone to watch
tv.

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