Trans-Siberian Journey

Trans-Siberian Journey

Within the museum,

an articulated wolf pricks

her ears anticipating Siberia;

to rattles of the shaman’s drum,

her muzzle lifts in the sharp

stink of reindeer piss.

Potent with fly agaric

which he must drink

wafting across the tundra

to dream between worlds,

accompanied by howls & joiks.

The wolf stalks her quarry

towards Baba Yaga’s hut

perched on chicken feet

scuttling over permafrost.

Where the witch-magic begins.

Dreams of Lake Baikal,

the hut, the stove,

strings of dried mushrooms:

outside larches against

vast whiteness.

A soft falling

of goose feathers

through time.

Masha, the baby mammoth

unearthed from permafrost

will not now be exhibited-

due to unforeseen circumstances.

Each indigenous language

murmured in my ear

as precious as Masha,

as succulent as hazel-hen.

Khanty, Marian, Buryat

Kazakh,  Koryak, Yakuk

Khakassan, Selkup,  Tatr

Chuukese, Komi-Zyrian

Each echo and dissolve,

a thickening of the light

through the frost-ferns

of this vodka glass.

Published in  Lifelines  ed. Helena Hoar and others, (Imprimata  2016)