Russian Style
by Heather Abner

Last night your mouth formed cyrillic against my throat.

The ah, beh, vey of it
not so difficult to translate.

You touched my ring, the oval amber glossy

as the abdomen of a honeybee
on my finger.

You said when you’re in Russia you always buy some

for your mother. You said she likes it

with the bugs and shit in it. And it’s cheap there.

The Winston lit in your hand reminded me

that a kiss can only last so long.

I stopped and told you to finish it.

This morning the light from the window is a bottle of Stoli

and I find my panties, my bra,

fine-wale corduroys inside-out on the floor with your shoes.

While you’re in the shower I try to occupy myself,

try finding something to read
on the shelves in the cigarette smoke of your apartment.

But except for the magnetic poetry kit on your fridge,

everything’s in Russian.

I rinse out the dish I placed my contact lenses in last night.

I slice a russet apple,

brew a pot of tea in your kitchen, and serve it
with a spoonful of black cherry preserves,


Same as you can order at Café Zola for an extra dollar.

I ask you through the door: do you want some?

The dark jelly sloe-black
and lustrous as caviar in the dish.

This poem first appeared in the Irish literary journal Cyphers.

Heather Abner has a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and a MLIS from Wayne State University.  She has published poems in Iodine, Main Street Rag, Rattle, The Atlanta Review, and Nerve Cowboy.  She is a librarian and lives in Brighton, MI with her husband Chris and two Miniature Schnauzers, Diesel and Brizo.  Visit her website.

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