It must be cool inside the House of Ice
(stalactite pleasantry, in Petersburg).
We were married there, on a barge,
by decree. The Empress flung the rice

herself. The Patriarch was very nice.
We were as Swedes in Sweden (washed
and plush). - "Dreams are hash!"
jabbed Hamlet suddenly, at minstrel mice –

thus endeth our parade. A table set
amidst mine enemies
(in Courland, wee duchy).
A cup and a signet seal. Promissory,
sped across nimble floes (writ from the heart).


We hushed ourselves, behind a hedge of speech.
The Empress collected dwarves, antiquities,
eunuchs, slaves (she loved the country
ditties, too), everything within reach

was reached for. Tall toy soldiers
tumbled out of tumultuous versets –
uniform figures, in pungent vermilion
and puce, new-fangled armor... curious!

Along the brooding river, wayward light
dangled from a drowning sun. So
the earth (formed long ago for everyone)
stoked her furnace for a rainy night.

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