by Rebecca Ruth Gould
The girl who invited me
to live in her tent camp
so she could teach me Chechen
sat staring in the corner,
fearing that any motion
might trigger an explosion.
Grozny’s flats were levelled.
Dolls lay disembowelled on the floor.
Glass shards covered the earth.
The road’s yellow ribbon rolled
like a carpet, limning the edge
of my escape to Vladikavkaz.
The siren song of battle
was an endless, plaintive moan.
Contraband, listened to by everyone.
Artist: Cedric H. Rudisill
Rebecca Ruth Gould’s poems and translations have appeared in Nimrod, Kenyon Review, Tin House, The Hudson Review, Waxwing, Wasafiri, and Poetry Wales. She translates from Persian, Russian, and Georgian, and has translated books such as After Tomorrow the Days Disappear: Ghazals and Other Poems of Hasan Sijzi of Delhi (Northwestern University Press, 2016) and The Death of Bagrat Zakharych and other Stories by Vazha-Pshavela (Paper & Ink, 2019). A Pushcart Prize nominee, she was a finalist for the Luminaire Award for Best Poetry (2017) and (with Kayvan Tahmasebian) for Lunch Ticket’s Gabo Prize (2017).