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These people taught me everything—

the alphabet, how to count, Russian;

how to hold a pencil or plane.

Which leaves one question: why?—no response.

And then there’s no one between us, a void.

When you departed . . . All the sounds of the universe . . .”—

Roasted meat, a picnic in full swing.

I move closer, peer down at the faces.

I ask: “Aren’t we all friends here?!”

They laugh in response.

Jangling guitars and soaring kites.

As the music fades, I

take a step. A breath.

Old snow crunches in the woods, crumbles.

My heart pounds, ready to burst.

And then nothing, quiet.

The forest resembles an unfnished cathedral.

The scent of damp wood chips.


A stream glimmers beyond the columns.

from Letters to YakubFind more by Gleb Shulpyakov at the library

Copyright © 2014 Gleb Shulpyakov
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Published in Gleb Shulpyakov Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.