The shelter kids have been found on the streets or taken from their alcoholic parents and are waiting for the verdict on their fates: to go home or to go to an orphanage.
I see them standing there, peering through the windows barred with curly iron
Faces pressed eagerly to the thick glass keeping out the winter
A few trickle out, shyly at first, glancing hooded eyes at the van
Standing there, smiles beginning to grab young lips as a slow drizzle seeps from the sky,
Spotting the dirty windshield and pushing down soft tufted hair, exposed to blinding white and sinking ink cement
Small voices float across the ground, cracked by winter and from pain
Up the slick doors of the van, sweating with first rain, between the windows
Opened barely like a newborn's wings, to my ears
"Pree-vyet, Pree-vyet, Pree-vyet"
Shoes stride from the high rubber step to the hard carpet, small feet pounding
Slipping in the wet, I see a solitary shadow, blurred against the grey
Of the window, cut by metal he shouts, "Hello America!"
Hours go by, smiles last
Like birds they fly, rushing to the tops of trees, among the bruised sky
Until the van rolls away
He shouts from the pavement, now outside
Between the children, smaller than him, not bearing the cigarettes hidden in his pocket
Fierce, the smile gone again, he shouts, "Good bye America, good bye."
I bonded with three young sisters: Susha, Masha, and Vika. All three are talented artists and all three lived on the streets after running away from an alcoholic home.
Little jay, youngest
Of the three, wild spirit take flight
Up into the rain
Up, up, among the
Trees, the boundless Russian sky
Never caught by chains
The only way I
Hold you, restless sovereign sprite
Is in my beating heart.
Masha, the youngest of the three sisters, was without a doubt the most energetic and lively.
Between your sisters
You clever artist, teaching
Me to speak with you
"Krasne, red," she tells
Me, accent rolling off her
tongue, face glows with pride
up at me, stroking my hair
Vika, the middle sister, was undoubtedly the intellectual as well as a talented artist. She worked diligently speaking English to me, constantly asking me to teach her more words.
Lead your sisters through
The streets, pouring rain atop
Three small crowns, fleeing,
You gaze up into
Starry space, swirling above,
Embracing you three
Quiet and strong,
You endure solely for your
Sisters, sleeping beside
Susha, the eldest sister, was the quiet, incredibly talented artist. She led her sister when they lived on the streets of Yaroslavl.