All of my childhood fantasies–icescapes
with Alaskan cranes, treasure diving
in the Black Sea–Putin has beat me to them.
He drapes a medal over his shadow,
then extradites the dead from purgatory.
I live with this deadweight of humor
and scorn until the humor burns out.
I know my birthmarks aren’t heraldic,
the sunspots transcribed don’t form
a line of sheet music. Blinking, I kill
a group of gnats, I kill only to see clearly.
Give me refuge from that sentence,
freedom from the choir sanctioning.
Each day the grail looks more like a chalice,
each day, the chalice more like a mug.
Maya C. Popa holds degrees from Barnard, Oxford University, and NYU. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Fence, and FIELD.