Anna queued for bread, the Sheremesky Palace is pointed out as we queue
in a traffic jam, (and the Nabokov Palace and Faberge’s workshop)
too far for us says, but we realise it is only ten minutes away
from overhyped Nevsky Prospekt. We reach the fancy gates and go through,
find the entrance, the old woman in the small ticket booth shakes her head.
Boris has taught me the correct pronunciation. It’s here somewhere
so we sit on the steps outside and wait for someone who speaks English,
eventually a young woman comes along and tells us Anna’s museum is out back,
a caretaker has been watching us and beckons us through a side gate
the flats are in a mess, a woman is standing outside a door smoking,
we pass graffiti and a burnt out lift shaft into a garden,
find a memorial to Anna, enter the museum are shooed out,
find the ticket office with a display. The museum is closed for refurbishment, only Brodsky’s study
is open for the usual price, ten dollars, so we pass. I ask if the two cats
are Anna’s? The young woman has some English but no smile.
I buy a fridge magnet then find out it’s a notebook,
stop and chat to the gardeners Otil and Turgev having a rest
a chat with smiles and laughter and no language.
So Anna I missed you.
Dread. Bottomless dread…
I am that shadow on the threshold
defending my remnant peace. Poem without a Hero