Matryoshka (for Katya)


Your eyes are the mystery you have willed them to be.

From a distance, they are a breeze

Bearing the scent of sandalwood, of ginger,

Salty sea lather roasting in an oriental sun.

When viewed directly,

One sees the colors of a spice market

Haloed in blue.


Your lips were formed in Russian forests,

Kept moist by the same secret streams

That have forever fed the sacred waters of Sergey Possad.

Before you were born, generations of Russian women had painted them

on the cute faces of whittled wooden dolls;

made to be hidden one inside the other,

inside the other.


When you slipped into the world,

Their spirits became real,  became flesh.

Your voice was tuned to the sound of streams,

And the smell of birch floated against your skin.

You were made to hide yourself inside yourself,

And then again, inside yourself, and then again.


Only your hands reveal you;

No unknowns can be cupped

Forever in our palms,

No mystery held long in our fists.

The past is written in them,

And the future awaits an oracle

They cannot stay forever

One held inside the other.


Yourshands are wordless poems I never tire of reading –

Silent sonnets written in blue,  darker blue, blue yet darker still,

Onsilky rice paper.

Tropes cascade into your palms,

Couplets are your bracelets.

When you move yourhands

Ifeel your rhythm,  follow your rhyme.


Your fingers are brazen branches grasping

For satisfactions.

As they reach out, they let go of the strings

That bind your enigmas, that secure your layers.

As one small finger presses a secret into my palm.

I shudder.

Mary Metzger is a 74 year old semi retired teacher. She did her undergraduate work at S.U.N.Y. Old Westbury and her graduate work In Dialectics under Bertell Ollman at New York University. She has taught numerous subjects, from Public Sector Labor Relations to Philosophy of Science, to many different levels of students from the very young to Ph.D. candidates, in many different institutions and countries from Afghanistan to Russia. She has been living in Russia for the past 12 years where she focuses on research in the Philosophy of Science and History of the Dialectic, and writes primarily for Countercurrents. She is the mother of three, the grandmother of five, and the great grandmother of two.


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