July 2 beginning to close in [Polio anniversary 55 years ago]
I'd rather wake in a Russian forest
rimmed with blue Siberian ice:
this is like a committee meeting at the end of the
Soviet era, reading
Samizdat newspapers, under a bare yellow bulb. The
fly whose feet
dipped in virus; barbed-wire birds of our time.
These bitten-down poems
like sweaters unraveling.
Heat. Yellow electrical storm.
Groundhogs worked in Caissons
suffering the Bends before Bends were known: lit
by fire from within.
in my sickroom struck from an incense ball
clouding radio, childhood's books, hall-telephone
undialed by mother to
phone the pediatrician, despite the agony, till dawn.
Take from me that window carry it in your arms:
suffocate it Let it live. From birth, I have had
an unquiet mind from birth
on: where only heaven & the nurse were &
heavenly Slavic white-nights harm
Strongin was born in New York City and grew up in an artistic Russian Jewish
home. She has won two PEN grants, one NEA grant, and recently had work
nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s published twelve books, most recently The Sorrow
Psalms: A book of Twentieth Century Elegy, from the
University of Iowa Press.
Archived at http://lit.konundrum.com/poetry/stronginl_poems.php