For Russians the stars are always incontinent, ejaculatory
smears across the squalor of a boundlessly

unhygienic sky. You’ d scoff, Marina, at how I go at them
with a tiny plastic shovel and my litter box

technique, scooping up the sidereal splooge while trying
to wipe down the universe. You’ d say

I tug at God’ s Old Testament beard, praying the prayers

of a coward. You’ d confide to your diary my eyelashes
don’ t bat sootily enough. Such a lummox

could never rumple the sheets of Paris! You’ d jot down
my ugly shoes, my idiotic jokes, reproach

my skies for lacking splendor, bleached
by electric lights and the haze of a dying atmosphere...

What else could I do, Marina? You and your comrades
vanished long ago, exiled, shot, or pensioned

off by the End of History. So I inch through your legacy
with my groundling’ s fears, my glut,

my botched American upbringing: I can’ t imagine your
heartbreaks, but you’ d never comprehend

how life for me arrived precanceled. Tonight, Marina,
the mercury streetlights will make us

ghastly: you can see only Venus from here, a drunken
queen’ s pearl dissolving into the crescent moon’ s

tipped-over goblet. Or perhaps I just fucked that up too.