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(1932 - / New York / United States)

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The Cossacks

For Jews, the Cossacks are always coming.
Therefore I think the sun spot on my arm
is melanoma. Therefore I celebrate
New Year's Eve by counting
my annual dead.

My mother, when she was dying,
spoke to her visitors of books
and travel, displaying serenity
as a form of manners, though
I could tell the difference.

But when I watched you planning
for a life you knew
you'd never have, I couldn't explain
your genuine smile in the face
of disaster. Was it denial

laced with acceptance? Or was it
generations of being English--
Brontë's Lucy in Villette
living as if no fire raged
beneath her dun-colored dress.

I want to live the way you did,
preparing for next year's famine with wine
and music as if it were a ten-course banquet.
But listen: those are hoofbeats
on the frosty autumn air.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003


Read poems about / on: travel, autumn, music, smile, mother, fire, sun, life

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Comments about this poem (Something About The Trees by Linda Pastan )

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  • Peter A. Crowther (2/2/2006 11:52:00 PM)

    Superb and memorable poem. This one will go straight into my favourites file

    1 person liked.
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