“For L.B.” by Nina Murray
After the Soviet invasion of the Baltics, the Lithuanian Embassy to the Holy See persists in exile, issuing passports that enable many to escape to the West.
the staff unmoored
the mission overnight a refugee
the cable traffic thready as a pulse
decrepitude becomes the foe
indoors the oak banisters are buffed
to civic sheen
but ivy infiltrates the garden urns
they ration paper–watermark and cardstock
the Consul vigilant against first
intimations of arthritis
his cursive as yet unimpeachable
the dotted lines
the passports claim a nation
stake by stake
this one claims you–your turtleneck, the mullet–
a body for a terrain mapped by ghosts
Nina is a native of Ukraine. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her translations and poetry have appeared in Agni Online, Prairie Schooner, Lumina, and Cosmonauts’ Avenue. Three poems were included in The Untidy Season, an anthology of work by Nebraska women poets.
Since 2011, she has been serving as a U.S. diplomat in Lithuania, Canada, and now Russia.