by Leo McCloskey
Four figures stand in the great emptiness
above the steppes falling over Asia.
But when shall I know this painter’s subject?
In the future, if I can see the story today.
Look! Sergey Churbirko’s “Pear Sellers” his resistance.
At last, I have this picture of you, thoughit is nothing like I saw you in California.
Tell me, don’t your relatives pursue you?
Wasn’t I right to author my own life?
Together we brought this self-identity to an end.
I have no sense of Tatar DNA.
I come out of you, but the sun also shines over those uncles who stayed in “Freedom from Taxes Village.”
Those relatives could not bear to live without village bells
and market days and sparkling subsistence farms.
I know you, scarved married women at the center,
I shan’t live in your fearsome village.
I know you’re listening, but there is no conversation.
If I were a member of the community,
then you would take me to your fortune-teller.
Note: Sergey is from Volovets. Typicaly of the Carpathian villages, it was a slave village through 1711. In the summer of 1831, a new peasant uprising broke out in Transcarpathia, in which the villagers also took part. As a result of the revolution of 1848-1849, serfdom was abolished by the Austrians. But the administration of serfdom continued in full until the money was introduced in 1876 in Austria Hungary. Only small improvements were made through 1939.
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