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Andrey Gritsman

Cup of Tea


In the end he was waiting for her

to come back.

So everything would be

laid out as usual:

tomatoes sliced thinly,

salt, pepper.

Their life was covered with bruises, scars.

In the window the other side

barely visible across the river.


He is waiting for his wife.

If there is one.

There is river and a boat

and his life as it was:

no prison, no war,

just wanderings of an alien.


He is waiting. He knows—

she is somewhere nearer,

her light steps…

She’d wipe sweat from his forehead,

fix cup of tea.

He is not asking for much now,

too late…

All he is asking for—a cup of tea.

Villa Borghese

As you leave the place,

leaves fall down; 

sundown lingers,

and then it is gone.


The place stays still 

as time passes, 

unnoticed by anyone

but you.


Then someone else comes,

looks at the sunset,

drops a cigarette stub

into dry foliage,

a paper napkin, a note

on someone’s card.

Then he goes too, 

on his way around the circle.


You remember that

bittersweet, warm smell

of magnolias, maple,

the rustle of the cracked fountain.

Late sun touches

the statue with its disfigured, 

unrecognizable face. 

You are calm and happy

for the moment.


The salvation is that 

you could not even know:

You were not the only one there.

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