It chuckles to a birdcherry and drenches
the lacquered carriages, the shivering trees.
Fiddlers wade through the moon’s wake
to the theater. Line up, Citizens!

Puddles on cobblestones. Deep roses,
like throats welling with tears,
are sprayed with glistening diamonds.
Whips of joy splash eyelashes and clouds.

First the moon molds the lines,
trembling dresses and enraptured lips;
it molds an epic in plaster,
it molds a bust molded by no one.

In whose heart does the blood rush
toward glory pouring down drawn cheeks?
There the blood beats: the prime minister’s hands
strangle aortas and mouths.

It’s not the night, not rain, nor the chorus
erupting: “Kerensky, hooray!”
It’s a blinding exit to the Forum
from catacombs, that yesterday had no way out.

It’s not roses, not mouths, nor the roar
of multitudes thronging at the gates—
but the tide of Europe’s night
swelling with pride on our pavements.

This Issue

December 17, 1992