i am reminded that english is a flawed language every time I am forced to use “that that” in a sentence
I remember once
in the heavy stillness just past midnight,
our window opened into the darkness
and a breeze slipped in to tease
at the stagnant kitchen air.
Marina spoke about old times,
of standing in line before sunrise,
of the number written on her hand
by a shop owner.
It was that way for everything, she said,
Moscow was the place to find it all,
whatever it was you were looking for.
To think, just a full day of travel
to the closest winter boots!
Only eighteen hours on a train
to snag a bag of citrus fruit!
I asked her if people were happier
then or now, and
(a rare thing)
before looking with deflation
at a bowl of fruit
forgotten on the table.
Quietly, she looked to the dark window,
her mind in old Moscow—
Nothing is like the happiness
of muscovite oranges.