Esther Sneaks a Visit with Putin’s Ex-Wife

We hear the droning edicts. The laws of men,
forever shifting like sand near my palace,
pinions near yours, decreeing who’s to live,
or be swatted like gnats. We can’t keep the children

from their father’s wrath, Lyudmila.
Will sanity prevail? The iron scepter blocks
its passage, despite yachted oligarchs, well paid
to avoid a mutiny, fatal embarrassment

before the world’s blaring footage. Best keep quiet
until it serves your purpose, and your people,
as Ukrainian as Russian, if they search
forbidden records, the royal lines of genes.

Our rulers got a little sloppy in their wanderings,
despite the protests of the public face.
We know better. Some think darkness hides
desire. It only hides contempt, not well at that.

Light calls truth’s nightingale from the thicket.
Patience, a virtue kept from raven’s eyes.
Trust me, the time will come. It always does,
where honor and love abide.

Carol Barrett directs the Creative Writing Certificate Program for doctoral students at Union Institute & University. She has published two volumes of poetry (Calling in the Bones and Drawing Lessons) and one of creative nonfiction (Pansies, a recent finalist for the Oregon Book Awards). Carol’s poems appear in such diverse venues as JAMA, The Women’s Review of Books, Poetry International, Nimrod, The Climbing Art, and The Beekeeper’s Journal, as well as in over 50 anthologies. A former NEA fellow in Poetry, she has lived in nine states and in England.

Appears In

Issue 18

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