Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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A Soviet Painting by Nikolai Solomin, She Did Not Wait

A soldier back from the war
in his Russian WWII uniform
standing next to a well, leaning on it
with his whole body, as if showing
what he owns. A woman before
him, her two iron buckets
expectantly filled to the brim

the painter forces us to see her belly
quickly, pins our eyes to it, makes her
wear an ivory dress with yellow flowers
paints the blackness of the well’s deep
opening behind her

to make the belly pop

she responds by not looking
at the soldier, attends to the water
feels sure about it & almost too sure as
the soldier looks at all of her openly, tries
to catch her eye & knowing he has every
right to & almost cocky about it
to another man in this painting
& not in this painting

oh darling . . .
Between two lovers . . . there’s always a little corner here that’s always unknown to the whole world and is known only to the two of them

Dostoevsky said this in Crime and Punishment
just before Svidrigailov meets Dunya & locks
the room & corners her!
but Dunya has a loaded gun! & aims it right at him!
He had never yet seen her so beautiful

oh Dunya . . .
another man in this novel
is the main character:

all day all day all day all night
he lies on the ragged sofa that isn’t his
he lies there & plots & waits
to kill one particular person
& kills two  

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