Sparrows and pigeons. No squirrels. Crows. A tank
on a pedestal. T-34.
with the weeds overtaking the wrought-iron fence
and the shattered statue
of a Young Pioneer.
first there was the Revolution,
then there was the War.
Defenders of Leningrad, take your positions.
One with a shovel, another a rifle—
you shall be cast in bronze.
Trash on the sidewalk along the canal.
Dogshit and broken glass.
A marble plaque commemorates
V.I. Lenin's having hidden out here once,
July of 1917.
And in the Smolny
is Lenin's typewriter—
squatting there like some infernal dream machine,
still spitting out in Russian letters
recipes for revolution.
Clackety-clackety-clack . . .
Inkstand, green felt, a gooseneck lamp
and the trusty Underwood—
what more do you need to change the world?
But those prescriptions went awry.
They're selling them on the street for souvenirs.
Come to Russia, and bring cash! Maybe
you can make a deal—
on an icon or a cathedral,
or a tank.