by Kate Zangrilli
for Ilya Tsvetovat*
I put the diamonds to sleep
miles below the switchboard
I have no dice to keep.
The servant words blink asunder.
Cold. That much is false.
Your English lacks the vocabulary
of our terrain. Terror
is ten years mining coal and gold
while your hair freezes to your face with spit
and your blood is white with ice.
You want me to speak-speak?
of it. I cannot see it; I can see only it.
These are the things I cannot say
wrapped in stars and wind to the bus stop.
* Ilya Tsvetovat was a Jewish shopkeeper
from St. Petersburg. He spent 10 years in Siberia, immigrated
to the US, and is now 80 and suffering from Alzheimer's.
He lives in Eagan.
© 2002 by Kate Zangrilli. All rights reserved.