Alexandra of Russia
You come down to us in ritual robes,
glittering, stiff-necked in ropes of pearl
or swathed in gauzy white cerements
of yachting and tennis parties where you
pretend to play for the children’s sake.
Passionate mother, you turn to a monk,
unwashed, riveting eyes, kasha
in his beard and God’s sweat
on his fierce brow, to staunch
a prince’s blood and raise
Holy Russia off her knees.
Empress of Fabergé, so mute, awkward
and shy at court functions, you run
through silent malachite corridors
when revolution pounds the palace gates
and your husband is politely told
on his train the end is beginning.
“Nicky,” you cry, “Nicky, do something!”
The old portraits of Great Catherine,
and Ivan the Terrible tilt on the walls
as you rush to gather four pretty
daughters and a bleeding son,
clasping your neck from which
the pearls have one by one
broken free and clattered like bullet
shells popping out of guns.
Kenneth Radu's poetry has appeared in Camroc Press Review, Literary Tonic, Gloom Cupboard, Asphodel Madness and elsewhere. He lives in Quebec.