Pukapuka Books


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pukapuka Poem #44 Russian Roulette - Michael O'Leary

Russian Roulette

привет tovarisch
‘Hello comrade,’ I reply
as she greets me off the train at Ellerslie station
It is not the stiff, formal handshake
but rather the playful shake of her head
that I notice . . .
sending her hair running after the wind
as we walk together
from the platform
                           towards our usual meeting place

I order two cups of black, strong coffee -
We sit silent for a short time
Then, leaning forward, she asks softly
‘The tapes. Have you got the tapes, Comrade?’
‘As always,’ I reply
хороший she seems relieved
as I hand her a small package
                        wrapped like a lover’s gift

We talk quietly with easy familiarity
until her eye catches the clock
and she rises and there is tension in the air
                        as there is each week when we part

‘The factory, I’m late for the factory!’
she cries …
we gather our things and walk fast around
around and around the circular walk-way
which leads from the road to the rail overbridge
the motorway sounds drown our goodbyes

‘Mission completed’ I think to myself
- as I board the train I glimpse her
standing on the foot bridge waving and calling out . . .

прощание, I’ve just fired
another shot -
your turn comrade’

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