Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
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Russian Winters

Yvonne learned to speak Russian after childbirth, her son sucking milk while she practiced the vowels of Pushkin. A language of gutturals, an opposition to winter. Today there’s a threat of rain and too many ripe oranges left unpicked in the yards of Santa Clara, once orchards. I miss the days I never knew, when the houses were trees and the valley in spring looked like winter from the blossoms. Whatever I thought of her must have been partial. Her husband died of cancer. She faced her struggles, of which I knew nothing. I say to myself the years are fleeting . . . someone’s hour is already at hand. These words come back, words she once could’ve taught herself to speak.  end

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