Russian Travel Routes – May Grant

Russian Travel Routes

By May Grant

At first, travel lines ran true.
They paired up straight, across my spiral college notebook.
“You can find 20 versions of the verb to go,” began my Russian teacher.
Finally I could translate a page of Tolstoy, then Chekhov, even Dostoyevsky.
But this gift, to the boy who shared my bed, lay unappreciated.

Soon, travel turned diagonal.
It lifted me from the lowest corner of the map into Manhattan.
“You can memorize these lines from Pushkin’s poem,” my Russian tutor encouraged.
Her apartment smelled of baking blintzes and sour Armenian yoghurt.
But those gifts on my untutored tongue slid down, unappreciated.

Now my flight arcs the northern lights and spears the fabled, feared Soviet Union.
“Leave your passports with us. We will store them safely,” smiles the Russian bear.
Curious students, sidelong glances, when I venture on a Moscow transit bus.
“Ya Amerikanka,” I attempt, as a boy reaches reverently toward my wool suit.
But my halting recitation of “The Bronze Horseman” fades, unappreciated.

Travel lines zigzag over the calendar and down the Steppes.
Ebony furrows pair up straight, across Ukraine’s vast wheatfields.
“Dveh Medusi” counts a child on Black Sea’s shores, raising a jellyfish in each hand.
But our tourbus driver’s medals, from The Great Patriotic War, sag unappreciated.

Years pair up now. Their lines wrinkle, contract, slip away.
“The Cold War is over,” an announcer intones.
First a child’s hand reaches up to me, then a grandchild’s.
Travel photos fade in rows, unappreciated.

© 2013 May Cornelia Grant

May Cornelia Grant

May Cornelia Grant

May Cornelia Grant has been writing all her life, non-professionally. Her articles have appeared in numerous small magazines and newspapers.

Posted in Poems about Travel.