Dominque Bernier-Cormier

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

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.


Dominique Bernier-Cormier is a poet from Montreal. His poetry is forthcoming in The Puritan, and was recently published in Poetry is Dead, CV2, and The Malahat Review. He was a runner-up for the 2015 Young Buck Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2016 Frog Hollow Press Chapbook Award. His first chapbook will be published in Spring 2017.