Moscow, September 2000
A chained bear dancing on its two feet
for rubles and corn welcomes us. Dolled-up
food chains on shelves: Stalin is pregnant
with Lenin is pregnant with Rasputin
is pregnant with Nicholas II is pregnant
with a kopek-eyed Anastasia. My mother counts
shiny rubles, eye-patched in blue beef
smoke, and I am miraculously pregnant
with a pound of shashlik. I buy a key-
chain switchblade in the shape of a golden
tiger. I finger through pirate Blink and Sum-
41 CDs. I breathe through a Soviet gas-
mask. The clicking silver jaws
of Zippos chew the air up. Everything
winks. Everything is taxidermied. The afternoon
is a piece of amber I hold in my fist
on the way home. The bear waves goodnight.
The evening buys old coins with new coins.
The evening closes the heavy blue doors
of its smokehouse and I fall asleep counting
my treasures finger by glistening finger.