Borscht Lore

Lena ate shit at the bottom of the driveway.
I was in the kitchen eating borscht, strained, and with no sour cream,
waiting for her to come back and eat the cabbage.


She was on her scooter—
I saw it all through the window.
I thought she bashed her teeth in and I gave a little smile.


She got up and her mouth was full of beet juice,
Looking just like me,
People always asked if we were twins.


Lah-nah and Lee-nah, they’d always sing.
But mama bave me the better cot.
And the Bolsheviks knew I was allergic to bay leaves.


So that’s why we had nothing. No spices,
No bubblegum, no jean skirts.


I thought of the magazines missing from the mail pile.
I looked down at the empty bowl.
I raised my own reddened knuckles


And then out the window
With beet-red blood dribbling down her chin
I saw her run


Never saying anything more than:
“go away, cabbage face.”