Leaving Russia – by Dorothy Dickinson

 

You will smooth creases
from sheets, check the cupboards,
the washer, the bed, and again.
You will tug at your feet.
You will say goodbye
to it all: to the koshki,
the babushki, the pigeons dancing.

You will find features stolen
from those you have known
in the faces of strangers
you’ll meet on new streets.
You will be angry
and a little in love.
This is normal.

You will store promises
in your kneecaps and at night,
you will hear them knocking.
Best to leave them be, until
the dust from your journeys
has kissed the tops
of your patellas.

Only then may you wonder
at what you’ve left behind.
Only then may you hold
the past close, breathe in
its hair, and reassure it
like you would a child,
afraid you had gone forever.

 

 

Dorothy is a dreamer, newlywed, and tea lover from Holland, Michigan. She recently completed her MPhil in Literary Translation at Trinity College Dublin, and has previously been published in such journals as The Blue Nib and Banshee.