Tatiana Retivov ~ Two Poems


The air glim­mers with pollen,
smog and haze. A melt­down
of the sens­es. I think of tanks
scur­ry­ing like mice across
the bor­der. Armed fiends in green
bring new mean­ing to being
a sol­dier of (mis)fortune. All
feel­ings of love are lim­it­ed
to sur­vival, and then some.

Dense foliage fills my gar­den
with suc­cor. It lifts me, until
air­planes roar past, hope­ful­ly
civil­ian. I alone remem­ber
through Elvira Madigan optics,
the Andante from Mozart’s
Piano Concerto No. 21 in C
major resound­ing for­ev­er.
Strawberries and cream.

This is not post-trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der,
because it is ongo­ing, almost com­pul­sive.
Peace sounds like a gen­tle sum­mer breeze
at dawn, by the Azov sea. War
explodes with rage, dis­rupt­ing all
you have ever known. You find
your­self count­ing the kilos of grain
in your cup­boards, dog & cat food, salt,
match­es, cof­fee & tea. We will sur­vive.



Does it always involve
Downshifting or just
Casual nympho­ma­nia?

I am at a loss for words,
Caught in this mouse­trap
Of a failed state with

Paper mon­ey and
An exchange rate
Based on whom you know.

I suc­cumb to its way­ward
Ways, along with the egre­gor
Of a bet­ter day. He is

Off in Jumping Jack Flash
Manner, until he be final­ly
Lying half con­scious and

Astern in a field of red
Poppies, raw hash resin
Residue hard­en­ing

Inside an old clay peace pipe.
Shall I now bring you
A pot­lach plat­ter from

The New World? It will
Recline on a Lazy Susan
Spinning fierce­ly like Fortuna.

Eat, drink, and be mer­ry,
Feast or famine, let them
Eat cake. All par for the course.


Tatiana Retivov received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana and an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Michigan.She has lived in Kyiv, Ukraine since 1994, where she runs an Art & Literature Salon and a small pub­lish­ing press,www.kayalapublishing.com that pub­lish­es prose, poet­ry, and non-fic­tion in Ukraine.