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It was not snowing when I got back. The airport could not hold me, bags somehow waiting like sleeping dogs on a stalled conveyor belt, no leery-eyed customs officer to poke in them as I wheel past, just the slick floor of the airport and a fast taxi. E called me every few minutes, asking how far away I was like she did when she was little. And then I am somehow back from an epic journey to the States and Mexico, zippers holding tough against the gifts inside the luggage. That smell at the back of V's neck, the first kiss with N, the jumping around, the wise-cracks, the cup of sweet black tea that grows cold somewhere on the floor as I pull the bags apart.

The living room looks like two Christmases have passed.

I slump into the couch and see that the trees outside are yellow, and an old wind is bending them hard. I feel different, maybe lighter, maybe more clear about what I must do now. But first I will slice into the cake N made that rests under a cloud of powered sugar. I will …

Christmas card from Kurskaya

heavy weighs the crown

The First Night

Time

no post this week

rumashki

tiny movements

Cracker Jack

black on black

"None of us are Free"

rocks, coins and angels

Studencheskaya!

the taste of coins

torn

the balcony was open

колготки (tights)

Mexican blankets and clowns

a late birthday in New York

from plastic cups

сорок один (forty one)

Postcards from late summer

jholtei ghorka (the yellow slide)

хлеб (bread)

How I surrendered to Northern Italy

the midnight sun and the white crow

лица жизни (the street of life)

the electro-train from Domodedovo

a wedding

the irony of seeds

позже (later)

The Bubble Boy

leading the donkey into the metro

пертсовка (pertsovka) and the happy worker

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