Many years ago

under the boardwalk

at Brighton Beach

she called me Miltusch.

We took off masks

saw with eyes of stars

a whitewashed world

under a clock

that never struck.

Volga boatmen sang,

we inhaled each other

with breath of sprats,

relished a bowl of borscht,

bibliki and a sip of tea

from a silver Samovar.

Vodka flowed, fingertips

followed folds of skin

in an effortless dove-tail fit.

We met bone to bone,

warp and woof of hair,

marrow sizzled, minds serene.

Taste of lips and nibbles

at the roots of toes.

Hearts thumped,

castanets flailed,

balalaika thrummed,

trumpets blared.

Bodies twirled

in a Bolshoi ballet.

Nesting dolls slept.

An icon appears

in a jeweled halo.

A clairvoyant shaman

opened a Siberian door

to music the color

of April rain.