"Лондонский маленький призрак"

by Sonya Taaffe

You were a ghost a lifetime before I got near you,
Velimir's apparition of London past
in a clerk's coat and pinstripes,
an actor or a time traveler
dropped in for a Brighton weekend in Petersburg.
Now, with more than a century
lying between us like cards from a devil's hand,
I catch you moving in the art of others—
bold as a linocut, misleading as a collage,
the bright-eyed jackdaw of all trades.
I talk too much sense to see you clearly, Alyosha,
from your flamboyant company
I thought you died young.
You were an old man in Moscow,
a seller of secondhand futures
the last year before men left footprints on the moon.
Before you were thirty, you threw down the sun.


Sonya Taaffe's short fiction and poetry can be found in the collections Ghost Signs (Aqueduct Press), A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press), Postcards from the Province of Hyphens (Prime Books), and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books), and in various anthologies including The Humanity of Monsters, Genius Loci: Tales of the Spirit of Place, and Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror. She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master's degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object. She lives in Somerville with her husband and two cats.

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