and linger in the nine cave-like sanctuaries
that rise as flames at the edge of Red Square,
in the cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed.
I buy my aquamarine-eyed daughter a ring,
soft silver inscribed with an ancient text:
spasi i sokhrani,* the very same hung
on the chests of soldier-boys in August, 1914.
We meet a girl on a playground swing.
Alisa, to and fro, in a perfect blue pinafore;
before we knew it, she's slipped off the ring,
and it's on her finger. I tell her, Give it back.
Alisa owns an Ayn Rand gaze, fixed on the
silver bullet of a first-class ticket on a jet plane
into slavery to a capitalist capo. This is the
culmination of Socialist Realism.
Four wars later, we'll meet behind
the door of a women's shelter,
holding flasks filled with our own tears,
each marked with an urgent message:
*save and protect