She’s a proud one. 

In her belly, mostly flat and pigmented lightly,

she houses not many

and those who are there were lucky;

here, they live in kinship and union. 

Her fields are fruitful 

as are her cities of trade and youth. 

Young mothers with never-ending legs and hair 

witness in almost stenciled ways

the twenty-seven year-old herself

navigating this foreign realm of freedom. 

Men hardly catch up, in spite of gym routines, soft talks over hard liquor and

the willingness to fight for it. 

Meanwhile, truly, her new belonging is one of self-acceptance

and individuality; 

it’s all new to her. 

Until recently, prostitutes’ shabby sidelines were her place, waiting, 

over the course of decades, 

for yet another perpetrator; 

brutality is her most vivid memory. 

So slowly but surely, sadness subsides these days,

Soviet facades crumble and

scars overgrow with Ivy and youthful dreams; 

they lie among the stars these days. 

Even though the exodus continues, this is an astounding beginning!

She’s quite flirtatious and irrevocably sure 

of the deal she offers: 

It’s a lot of losses in every part of her being,

a ritualized muscle of Catholic religiosity 

that’s just taken up a shy pilgrimage toward unresolved depths and truths 

and a promise of romance

joining, dividing, fusing inevitably 

east and west, 

and irresistibly so.