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Dimitri and the Americans

my grandson brought the Americans
to dinner and they are loud
always wanting to know things
how we buy food
they called it - groceries
I gestured to the garden
that is food I said
I don’t buy - groceries
how we travel          
why should I travel?
I went to Russia during the war
and that was enough travel for a lifetime
I was a general then
these Americans they laugh a lot
I brought out the cognac
the American boy saw a medal on the wall
what is this? he said
I told him
later I went to the bedroom
and opened the old chest
in the bottom
was the uniform
I laughed and put on the jacket
the Americans toasted me and I laughed
by the end of the night the cognac was almost gone
and I was wearing my full uniform
the holster was stiff and cracked but
the gun had been wrapped in oiled paper
the snow and rain made a mess of the road
I said stay tonight
this stone house is cold
but we still have cognac
and blankets
they laughed
and left
the car got stuck halfway up the hill
they all got out to push
I left the house to help
that stiff uniform - I don’t know
maybe it was cognac
I felt strong
we pushed, the woman, the men
got that car to the top
and then I slipped
rolled all the way to the bottom
mud and snow in my face
damn Americans
it was god damn cold
I was god damn laughing


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