When I was a child, I wandered
the lip of a hole in the earth.
Overhead, the black web of electrical wires
hummed with a subdermal vibration,
The quiet sound of grinding teeth.
(breathed in and out—)
I was tightrope walker, circus freak, sparrow on a string.
So careful not to trip on the unearthed pipes,
glinting like iron-capped teeth in that black, yawning jaw;
Blackened like the black dirt, the soil of the little city.
(Dirty, shitty, poor city; gutted remains of the USSR.
And the fortune tellers said it had no future, that little city
– Leave now! Move away!)
The surrounding countryside was farms,
And ghosts wandering the desiccated corpse of the yellow steppes,
In all directions, stretched like the hide of a drum.
And when the black rain fell, it beat a tattoo on that sad land;
the echo of horse hooves.
Under my feet,
that damned hole was an empty eye in the earth,
Just watching the sky.