we agree to meet in Anna Karenina, page 18
in the Garnett translation. While Vronsky
arrives in Krasnoe and hands the footman his hat,
while Tolstoy fusses over plausible details–
moldy arras? leaky samovar? snuffling stallion?
deafening crickets?–we slip into the boathouse
to undo pearl buttons with a shaky hand. Soon
startled swifts volley–will they hurt themselves
against the low rafters?–and a bittern cries.
Or are there loons in Russia? Are there butterflies
with eyes on their wings, this deep in the past?
All we can do is lie still and tremble.
We listen to the pulse like children
intent on a conch. We sense a licked finger
touching the page at the upper-right corner,
twilight buckles between us, and we turn,
since we cannot meet in this world.