May 01, 2019

At Zima Junction, 1943



At Zima Junction, 1943
Zima Station Rusak761

The taiga speaks in small voices:
the snapping of tree-limbs trapped in ice
as we fell them, the chip and chime
of fir. My own breath, the caesura between
the ache of expanding my lungs and the fear
of contracting. Mouth, nose, the whole face
wrapped, eyes sun-bleached, this muteness
is also a kind of blindness.
Only the taiga speaks.

A storm – and the trees lie uprooted, naked.
Women
walk among them as if on a battlefield:
we had expected a different kind of death
for these and now
we don‘t recognize them.

In a hollow left by the roots
we discover a pony – brown and whine piebald,
long fur spiked with mud and ice,
grass in his teeth. Anna Ivanovna kneels
close to his nostrils, writes
with her gloved finger in the snow,
ten thousand years.
She cares to remember those things.


Digital Subscription Required

Get unlimited digital access for just $2 a month.

Don't have an account? signup

See Also

The Museum of Abandoned Secrets

The Museum of Abandoned Secrets

Where we interview Nina Shevchuk-Murray, translator of this new book by Oksana Zabuzhko, which is an expansive piece of historical fiction that encompasses much of Ukrainian history, particularly during WWII.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

800-639-4301
802-223-4955