For my mother
And other Russian women,
Whose songs I hear,
Whose thoughts I speak,
Whose dreams I dream

Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry

Cossacks and Highwaymen

... for as long as I can remember, no one talked about my father. My mother didnít talk about him; my grandma didnít talk about him; my grandpa didnít talk about him; neither did our neighbors and friends. He was not thereóat birthday parties, holiday gatherings, field trips, doctorsí appointments, anniversaries, or New Yearís Eve celebrations. He didnít call or ring a doorbell unexpectedly, waiting for me to greet him in the hallway with a half-frown half-smile, and then a wide grin. None of it ever happened. And maybe my mother grew tired of waiting for his magical reappearance in her life (just as I grew tired of waiting for Father Frost to arrive on New Yearís EveóI would fall asleep by the tree and my mother would drag all the presents out from under the couch), but she had stopped sneaking rubles in my slippers on my birthday, stopped pretending that my father had ... » read more

Appeared in Bayou 66 (Fall 2017): 27-38.


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