Illusa's Stone*
Christine Perrin

We rose and drove east and the sun fired the frozen white fields
of our unhappiness, when we arrived, we went inside,
in our mouth were the words of things with edges—
coal, fish, boat, net. The night before, the character said to me
from the book: do not be afraid of life, if you carry
even one happy memory you are safe to the end of your days.

The sleepless afternoon you came into the kitchen
must have been in spring because the windows are open
in that first house, we make bread, you kneading
with your small hands, and put it out to rise.
From the nets, I lug this solid memory
against the glimmering ice holes of another season.


*In The Brothers Karamatsov, Alyosha addresses the boys with these words in memory and
honor of Illusha, a boy who died.



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