Michael H. Levin: Poems and Prose
(For Oskar Burstein: Petrograd 1922 -- Maryland 2016)
The scars that date to Luga
now are still; big hands that bowed
the cello, silently at
rest. Those other scars -- from
famine, father, Siege; blind
GPU arrest, two camps,
an airless aftermath --
re-forged: cold-welded in
a steel determination
that the Headman must not win.
That song and blood ties,
pulses in a secret heart,
would not be waived.
And so all guests were family
at your table’s toasts:
both those who haltingly
dropped by for fear of being
marked, and we who came there
later, late in life: the welcome
shifted to a foreign land that
was not strange -- was home, because
you dreamed it all your days. Your
bear hugs and irreverent joy among
pink redbuds and magnolia flowers
a coda to the dark hard times.
A middle finger raised.
An endless chord.
First published in 2016 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award Collection (Poetica, Sept. 2017)