Issue Twenty-Seven - Winter 2016

The Russian Woman

By Naomi Lowinsky

“The Russian woman’s daughter is sweeping the floor,” you announce, hauling yourself out of chemo’s last slime before slipping back down into undertow. In dreams you are forever traveling—driving near cliff’s edge, navigating bus stops, running to catch a plane. Perhaps you’re at a wedding in the Old Country, where our dead have gathered to bless the unknown bride, the unseen groom.

Surely there’s a grandmother who’ll make you a big bowl of borscht—red root broth to purge you of aches, shakes, nasty aggravations in delicate places. Surely they’ll be gone like the crumbs swept away by the Russian woman’s daughter. Perhaps it’s her wedding. And the groom—I can see him now—dancing in the glow of those who came before, aroused as the Green Man in May.

Here, in the Old Country of the Heart, you are my root and my canopy. Here, in the garden, the earth’s been turned, the seedlings planted. Come back to the river with me. Come back to the farmer’s market. Strawberries sing the sun’s hot tongue. A fiddler frolics a Klezmer tune. Our dead do a circle dance around us—throw us high to the canopy sky.

Copyright Lowinsky 2016