20 Dec 13
and in the shop…
“The Lost Boys”,
joint pamphlet –
as co-ed –
“Prompted to Write”,
children’s book –
fal in assoc. with Truro Cathedral
Through the grimy gauze of November snow,
I make the mistake of catching her eye.
Devushka, pozhaluysta, lady, please, she thrusts
her hands in front of me, in one a tiny icon,
Our Lady of Kazan gleams in gold and green,
from the other she dangles two wire coat hangers.
A hundred babushki line Lubyanka, hunched
like hens. They’re flogging a tin of peas, a shawl,
tools gone to rust. Rheumy eyes accuse me as I pass.
Devushka, pozhaluysta, please. Thirty roubles,
too much, but a bargain, to pay off my guilt
at the poor. I press it into the wet wool of her glove.
Of course, I don’t need the hangers but she insists,
telling me she’s wearing her last dress and coat,
unlike me, she implies, with a future and dreams.
She drapes them over my wrist and asks me to pray.
I’d bought both the miracle-working Mother of God,
and the abortionist’s twists, her bath tubs of blood.