At the Izmailovo Flea Market

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

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Paris-Prague and Back

1
The matter finds itself in this circumstance with its fat fingers its warts It came in an official tricolor car It crosses the bridges shows its cuffs the matter makes matters and enfolds us in tunnels toward night when the domestic screen is softly lit

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An Inheritance

In 1974 my mother drove a fern
from Montreal to Vancouver
in a Datsun
spritzed it at the gas stations
and took the corners gently
as its reach filled space with limbs
between the luggage,
as its terra cotta anchored it
to a moving thing.

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Unbendable Light

The ocean will not swallow us
if Grandpa is watching. In photographs,
he faces away from the water, says the thought
of his mother dries his throat—her unbendable
light, her blue dresses. Centennial Beach, Grandpa,
twenty years sober, my arms around his neck. I am
naked but for beach shoes. My shadow cuts
his ribs in half. Behind us, my sister holds
Semiamhoo Bay between her outstretched hands.

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