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Aunt Manya

by B. Z. Niditch

Morning slips away
as cranes and doves emerge
to sweep the sky,
as bird shadows land on the red pine
outside our rented dacha.

Dawn’s shade is now interfaced
with snow kisses
turning and twisting our breath
in Arctic Siberian air.

My sheaf of dreams
is peopled with writers,
composers and scientists:
Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky,
and the pioneer space genius
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

I’m at the foot of Manya’s bed
at first light by the winter lamp,
bringing her a glass of tea,
beginning my piano exercises
in a Peskanov regimen.

Then I play Manya’s favorite
piano piece: Scherzo à la russe
and take an inkwell bottle
for my English fountain pen
found in a Moscow bazaar
many kilometers away.
I surprise my Aunt Manya
with a poster of Pushkin
drawn by Pasternak’s father.

Her pale eyes, like mine,
are watered and implanted
by centuries of Russian sages
not afraid of being close
to the nature of things.

A heron passes over us
with its large, legendary wings.

Copyright © 2013 by B. Z. Niditch

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