To Lev Gumilyov

by Lydia Wei

O Lev, love, your broken eyes—
I’ve kissed your wan lips goodnight
from miles away. Don’t you see
I’m fighting for you,
for us?

Hunger clings to love as
skin to bone. Lev, forgive my
words. I could tell you how
I’ve cried for you, how I’ve starved
for you, but I won’t. Instead, I will tell you
in Leningrad, at dawn, the rosy light
turns us, mothers of the queue, into
shadows. Me, I am rooted
to this ground—

I would’ve soared like a crow to
your deserts, your snowy depths,
and carried you like a song
in my beak. But you
would’ve come out in

hoarse cries.