Forty-two months behind Mordovia
with a grilled square of gray to guide
her days from nights, swatting at angels
to kill them, following dissident verses.
She strikes with hunger for camp sisters: a witness
to remedies. Her tools, allowed but once
a month to reach Igor, her other half of physics,
but no real thoughts or letters can escape,
no more than greetings transcend.
The firing squad awaits the indiscretions
from her pen. And with the burnt end
of a wooden match, she engraves strophes on every face
of soap, sketches rhymes against each bar,
embeds each word as memory. She whispers,
rolls lines between her tongue and teeth
a hundred times until she can etch them
on the paper of her mind: a note of low
sounds. And then, with one cleansing
of her hands, words circle the drain.