OLD CLOTHES, OLD RECORDS
BY NATALIA ZARETSKY
Retired, I don't need much -
a few jeans, jackets, summer tops,
mostly stretchy, comfy - the rest
goes into Salvation Army bins.
Suitcases slumber in the cellar -
I don't travel anymore.
I am not a collector - I throw out
things, unused, without qualm.
But not old LPs, brought from Russia
(no turntable to give a voice to memory)
remote past under the black round skin,
soundless warmth, wrapping my throat -
songs of love, miles and years ago,
Old Gypsy Romances, Georgian ballads,
old movie' soundtracks, Traviata,
best actors reading Russian poetry,
muted recording in concert halls,
cloying with joy and sadness,
immune to the dust of forgetting -
Pasternak, Achmatova, Tzvetaeva.