Mikhail Iliev



Cobblestone and clump of grass below the wheel.
Shabby fence and rusted locks upon old gates
Lilac heavy drooping, sour cherry falling on the street
My hometown just like this I want to see.

Uncle's mule has lodged the hoofs and will not budge
Uncle tries a word and tries a whip and all to waste
Grandpa wipes his head of sweat and clamors off the cart
Maybe he should oil the axles while they wait.

Nature stops and looks at us in ruse, what a thing to foil a man
Women too arrive and fill this stunted scene
As our mule chomps his lip and looks to be asleep
And the cart creaks softly in the mountain wind.

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HOMETOWN, continued

You can hear the wet and popping lap and smell
The foaming river down beyond the narrow rails
Dog barks in the back, he too would like to see
Din and bustle, old and salty men and sun-dried rugs

I am young and on my back upon the wooden cart
All I see is tops of trees and lilac dense and then
My Grandma's tender face, all so near all the same
As she chews a cherry soft and feeds it back to me.

Uncle stands dismounted and harangues the mule
Someone skips flat stones across the water
I am young and know a little, Grandpa clowns at me
My hometown just like this I long to see.

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"Verse of Love and Loss," a collection of Mikhail's poetry, was published in 2003 and is available on Amazon.

The collection was written between 1993 and 2003, dwelling on things, people, affection, childhoods, loved and lost.