Natasha gripped my shoulder now, cleaved to me
like a loving sister-bird, as we drifted there
above the Black Sea’s shadow-sheen of somber,
opalescent azure (brooding, thought-like sea).
Here’s where we U-turn, Hobo – here’s
where we swerve north over lazy-hazy Rus.
To draft a sky-arc of clean air, bright birches’
bark – construct a parallelogram that veers
across the sphere’s Pacific rim. We’re
heading home, aslant – drawn back (in single
file of feather-spun steel) to US. Sharp angle
of mercy-return – cloud-seeded atmosphere
of prodigal redemption. & as we swanned along
that quietness of steppes’ broad, slow streams
I began to hear, faintly, far-off, fresh fern-thyme
themes – frail tunes, thin stalks of columbine
or bluets in the northland moss. Then, joining
in basso profundo, subterranean bells, voices –
drone-pitched so deep, deeper than all the halls
o’Hell. Then – mingled with all these – pining
cries of endless flocks of cranes (fanning away
on either side of us) threaded those heights &
depths of tones into a stringent harmony – land-
bound, airborne – flashing Sibelius-sibillance (hey-
ey-yo). Then, finally... as we edged closer now
to that granite beehive, limestone Petersburg...
I heard a human voice swoop (bird-like) – swell
& climb, like some rose-windowed water-prow.
Who’s this? I cried. You know, Natasha smiled.
Your brother-yodeler, harping in harmony – your
Jonathan, David. May’s Mendelsohnny goldie-joy
in lap of baobab – sprung free at last now. Wild.