Sliced deftly as prosciutto
at the Ritz, these slivers may hold genius
but I feel only sweat, blood pounding
in my temples. I have clear orders
from the Immortalisation Commission.
Examine each section,
discover signs of greatness. My heart
drums like toy soldiers, my eyes
strain under strip lights, the walls
of the Moscow Brain Institute seep
as I seek to decipher these maps:
a dry archipelago under glass.
Thirty-one thousand waterless islands:
not one means a thing to me.
I’m searching for flashmarks,
shadows of revolutionary thought,
the flush of a motherland’s pride,
or even the hint of a crash
of conscience, regret at comrades
shot in the back by their friends,
lovers strangled in bed. There’s only
numbness. Outside, October
is rotting. A whiff of pestilence.
The pounding of four sets of hooves.