Tatiana Retivov

St. Petersburg Revisited

Sphinxes by Maxim Vorobiev

In winter we notice how arches
are not made of stone. On Neva River
barges stop from the burden of movement.

Women cross the river daily,
barefoot and on tiptoe.
The cemetery’s been flooded since fall.

When weigh-bridges lift their boneless arms,
it is not to sigh. It’s to throw us off
their rusted shoulders. But still

we crawl at dawn and scrape
the marrow from their bolts.
We long to hear their galvanized song.

Come summer, we forget that we are home.
Barges rock slowly in the wind,
in the shade of nights gone white.

The bridges sing us to sleep.
We dream of Baltic mermaids
with passports to paradise.


About the writer:
Tatiana Retivov received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana and an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Michigan. She has lived in Kyiv, Ukraine since 1994, where she runs an Art & Literature Salon and a small publishing press that publishes prose, poetry, and non-fiction in Ukraine.

Image: Sphinxes by Maxim Vorobiev (1787-1855). No medium specified. No size specified. 1835. Public domain.