A dress that, if it spoke, would say
summer, summer, summer
and a gray cardigan

was what she always wore
when she visited her first tropical country —
mine. She began teaching me a lesson

on grace, and didn’t know it. Which,
really, is the only way to teach grace.
Under the warm Philippine sun

she took off her cardigan 
and in her thick Slavic accent, said
The sky looks so different here! 

And I wondered if people in her country
had different dreams. Had no falling
teeth, falling bodies, nakedness.

I thought of how the sky changes
what we believe comes after
the long sleep. And we went inside.

The air-conditioner humming
a cold song. I felt like I’d brought her
back home for a moment.

I believed in weather and memories
and she didn’t. The gray cardigan
back on her. I touched her

and felt the forgotten human virtue
of always staying the same temperature —
The smallest way of making the self

easy to remember. And this
is how I remember that lesson:
Not everything you have written

is yours.

3 thoughts on “Клементина

    1. I’m glad. I’m not sure about discipline and respect for craft, I try! Hahaha!

      But yes, I don’t even know where all the Russian is coming from!


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