by Liliane Wouters
Alexis Petrovich leaves for the fair
at Nizhni Novgorod-ah!
to see Katushka, of the black-curled hair,
eyes blue as mountain voda.
tOff to the Volga from the Irtysh riding.
wrapped in his double fur,
the fat pelt-merchant in his troika gliding
treks the vast steppe toward her.
Over the Urals to the dyevushka!
Left in the izba, sitting
by porcelain oven, his old gospozha
is tending to her knitting.
The tranquil landscape, onion-domed, flies by
before his eager gaze,
and shivering firs raise to the clouded sky
their host of Kyries
Passing the sleepy sloops that sail the river,
he seems to dream, his loins
wool-warmed. Sewn in his vest, something to give her:
a little sack of coins.
Last updated March 19, 2023