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The Tsarina's Tea Set

by Sharon Chmielarz


Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis


Incredible the Bolsheviks didn't smash it,

token of the Tsarina and the wild-eyed

Rasputin, who accidentally on purpose could

have ground a porcelain cup in his teeth

and not bled, proving to her his powers,


grinning and chomping down the delicate

painted birds on the cup, its background

a robin's egg blue or the tint in a woman's

bedroom wallpaper. —Swallow-like birds

I can't name, their own invincible magic


flown from a brush's dash-dash, o,

trickle-down, tangible happiness, the royal

that escaped assassination.  O happy little

birds, happy blue teapot boxed in a museum's

vitrine.  You'll be the family that lasts forever.