Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Telo ("Body, Corpse")

Note: The Russian refrains are individual prayers for forgiveness and mercy.

The hands that lay me out will be the hands of my everyman God,
as they appeared to Ivan Illych at the end: a stranger's hands;
a student, earnest; an old nurse's aide.
My niece, moya krestnitsa, whom I raised and let down, is dead. Her sofas, sardonic, delivered
as she stiffens, stiffens, mens, mens not sana. Pray,dear God,
pray God, pray God,
not in fear.

Forgive me, Irochka; Irochka, prosti.
 Ta budet volya Tvoya. Pomilyu, Gospodi; pomilyu, ty.

     The hands that lay me out will be the hands of my everyman God, 

as they appeared to Ivan Illych at the end: a stranger's hands; 
a student, earnest; an old nurse's aide.
The cemetery, Whites and birch trees; black monashki tending mad Orthodox graves,
the old age home there, elders without fear.
The woods where my father showed me tadpoles, life:
Parents of camps and daughter-strife,
Ancestors, woods, I:would you lived
Forgive the girl who left to live.
Ta budet volya Tvoya.
Gospodi, pomilyu; Papa, Mama, prosti.

The hands that will lay me out will be the hands of my everyman God, 
as they appeared to Ivan Illych at the end: a stranger's hands, 
a student, earnest; an old nurse's aide:
They tell the other residents of my home: “That lady wrote a book.”
I have no Alzheimer's. My face, without tonus, big as the Ukraine.

I loved a few, ignored the many.
Forgive the woman who was so silly.
Ta budet volya Tvoya.
Gospodi, pomilyu; gospoda, prosti.

The hands that will lay me out will be the hands of my everyman God, 
as they appeared  to Ivan Illych at the end: a stranger's hands, 
 an earnest graduate student, an old nurse's aide:
With a chess king in Queens, “Thanks for the laughter, 1985.” Unorthodox Jew,
took  a honeymoon dive in dreadful Cancun.

Vegas bones and manic ride:
Forgive me, Steven, I was still alive.
Ta budet volya Tvoya.
Gospodi, pomilyu. Stiva, prosti.

Steven's old bones, his fine strong teeth, welcome me: Forgiveness is here, immortal, see?
We host starlings, squirrels, a tough, unkempt bush: I am not forgot
by teenagers fucking, looking at tadpoles, anguishing their parents, smoking pot.

Ta budet volya Tvoya.
Gospodi, pomilyu. Deti, prosti.

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