Writers' Corner

Karen Rigby

2007 Poetry

Author's Statement

"Borscht"

Throw a bone in the crock.
Cut onions, bon-voyage streamers,
rub tendons with marjoram
and cabbage soft enough to tear

on my tongue. Give me
the good stink of root cellar
and white night, soup so crimson
I could paint the walls:

blood from the mink farms,
hands riveting bolts
to the gunwale of a ship.
Public beatings in Yevtushenko's
Babi Yar. Borscht steams

like a horse combed to a rich gloss
for the May Day parade.
Once, on a tour of the Orthodox domes,
a bicyclist rode past balancing

his green gardener's pail
between the handlebars.
Potatos and a newborn dog
bedded on newsprint.
The man could hardly steer

with the weight of his gifts.
Country of exiles, bath houses,
blood of the czars--
I raise the bowl and drink
to the steppe's red beets.