DINNER WITH RUSSIAN LITERARY BIGWIGS
Dinner with Russian literary bigwigs
Amused because we toasted one another
With vodka enough to make a new vast sea
But not one of us Americans knew just whom
We could trust. Quite likely not a one of them.
Which didn't stop me from sitting on their laps,
The laps of possibly crooked or murderous men,
But was that wrong? Our being there would mean
That Russian writers could see the USA
In exchange. We were communicating
And that is good, although suspicion sent
Silent electric shocks through all of us
As if a mad psychiatrist were in charge.
That's the nature of a lie—to make the sane
Insane—and the Soviet Union was a lie.
The chandelier shined on the shot glasses
And silverware. Hilarity ensued.
Behind our masks our faces were perplexed.
Behind our masks our faces were making faces.
Kelly Cherry is the author of 23 full-length books (most recently, A Kelly Cherry Reader), 9 chapbooks, and 2 translations of classical drama. Her new collection of stories, Twelve Women in a Country Called America, is forthcoming from Press 53 on May 3. Her tenth chapbook, Physics for Poets, will be published by Unicorn Press this spring. She and her husband live in rural Virginia, near the North Carolina border.
--from the archives of The Broadkill Review
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