Reading Akhmatova (Читая Ахматову)

by Michael Sarnowski

Russian reads like a city’s first snowfall
where syllables gather for warmth. A response
to rigid Cyrillic characters bundled on wartime prints,
red political text that grips like frostbite.To hear the names aloud, V’s surrounding O’s
like bare fingers shaping snow. Words that open the mouth
like Matryoshka dolls, capture the echoes of metro tunnels,
teach the patience of rivers that sleep still, and wake ice.

In the poems of Akhmatova, silhouettes haunt streets
and last lines read like scripture for the sleepless.
Anna, you should know, you’re not the only one
who translates the winged, falling.


 

reading-akmatova_michael-Sarnowski_lgeMichael Sarnowski earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Vanderbilt University, where he was a recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize. His poetry has appeared in Potomac Review, The Adirondack Review, Underground Voices, and Foundling Review, among others. He currently lives in Rochester, New York, where he is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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