Brodsky Museum, St Petersburg
Circled by Belomorkanal smoke
And, near the Arctic, by fast-cooled chifir tea —
We want these old apartments to evoke
The depth of this, deeper than poetry,
Deeper than your bitter words that spoke
The nothingness of time and history.
That is: The bathroom stink you tried to cloak,
Sharing the bowl with two other families.
The desk display of poets who provoked
You into verse: Auden, Frost… A messy
Desk, a mid-modern aesthetic baroque
Of books and bottles and a cup of tea.
Asleep for years, these dusty rooms stoke
Unembittered hearts — too young for ennui —
Who press against the doorway to soak
In the atmosphere. They pay the entry fee
And immediately want to stroke
The same cracked imperial walls that he
Lived sandwiched between, bitter and broke
But not broken.