by Brendan Constantine
from a line by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Ever notice when you’ve had a bad night
it seems you had a bad childhood, too.
I was born in a gulag. A guard stabbed me
with a flute, made me whistle out my life
in a national song. By noon, my mother
was a nun, later a chorus girl from Minsk.
At four the sun began to exaggerate; I went
from a girl to a woman in a freight car
rattling someway west. Got home about ten,
called my stalker, said I was alone. Last
I fed the fish, watched them eat
every cloud. Slept like a hostage.