Snow WhippetsAlexander V. Litvinenko 1963 - 2006
Suddenly afternoon turned the color of slate.
Some first few snowflakes trembled down
clots on the face of the street.
The impermanence of my life
came into my mind. I was sick with the news.
I sat in the cafe as if I was a passenger
at the glass, watching rain, its filigree,
stumble along the pavement. Vladimir (to no one,
a kind of notation). Smoke resembling dry ice
rose from the grates, debris steaming.
Visor-dipped pedestrians harried
to their platforms, umbrellas
Evening arrived, taking on the color
of its own imminence. I felt myself
to be hurtling past.
When, before, I found myself, as if without passport
in the Russia I love, still I felt less trepidation
than I did at The Mayfair Millennium Hotel,
in London, a citizen,
on the verge of being deported.
I scanned faces for someone to love. But, faces
of the passengers were impassive. You were not among them,
you whom I love.
It is not only that for which I cried out.
Gradually, from the pane,
I saw all that I knew pass before me, a pageant,
their sonorities muffled,
as snow whippets sleeked past the drift.
I felt I would go into the stile of snow,
that they had drawn me to an attenuated pitch,
that they had elongated me,
that dogs are hungerers,
that I could not make a coat of their pelts,
that I would be devoured
by the musicality of their tongues.