This leaf, these burning haystacks
are St. Petersburg November.
That autumn when intellectuals in
fur lined coats still sipped coffees in
those mothball coin fountain cafes,
a sickness, like winter, like bald patch
pigeons, like whiskey in a local union bar
like truth in a dollar store parking lot
vied, coursed through veins and somber
cell membranes coding for revolution,
or change, or one of those pervasive sound bites
(but this is before these ideals reduced, simmering
to 0s and 1s, political shotguns, pepsi cola ads
of Sandinistas with Molotov cocktails)
This is the November when Molotov cocktails
dropped like eagles, like confetti
(in the name of anarchy, of passion)
into concert halls playing Dvorák
and luncheons filled with toddlers
and mother’s blouses still wet with milk
eating tea and crumpets
This is the November when Anya and Sasha
grew dizzy with radio wave wine and danced
with that monocle rat education, bringing them
nowhere. But they laugh, rip leaves, eskimo kiss
and throw pearls into the Volga
and Anastasia clips toenails in pink palace closets
and pulls 5 bobby pins out from fleshy inner thigh.
This is the November when the music disaffected
waitresses and tips of oak branches echoed in
a long hard winter. A winter of 3PM sunset seductions,
a winter like fever, like gulags and horseradish.
Cold like Andy Warhol portraits of
Chairman Mao hanging with Jackie O and
lynch mob victims in vibrant gem tones
A winter like Beijing summer and Hanoi fall.
A winter of ice, gray clouds and little snow
where hope is a slogan for t-shirts and fools.
This is that November of remembered coincidence
and it smells of crushed boot maple leaves,
baby Jack O’Lanterns, and blood.