They may never have heard the other’s name.
Ten years apart, the older combing her pigtails
out, the younger just learning how to braid them.
Maybe the younger saw the older laughing in the hay.
But both, as innocents, steamed their way to America
where there were more people than cows and more
streets than fields; where everyone spoke in strange,
quick clips. Both dreaming in their brick tenements
of the goat’s milk they were given just before dawn.
Both wondering where their goats were. Both missing
the quiet blue. How they learned about pavement and
phones. How they married. How they rolled English in
their mouths like little stones. How they never knew
that the other had children. How their children had
children who had no accent. All the while, the goats
sleeping in the back of their Russian dreams. And how
you, grandchild of the younger, should make your way
to Albany University, to sit in a class with me, grand-
child of the older. Even then, we never knew. And how
twenty years later, we should re-find each other. Until
a hundred years from that village, in a moment of
missing my grandma so, I speak of Katarinaslav, and
you are stopped. And oceans from the warm goat’s
milk their fathers pressed to their sleepy lips, you tell
me that your grandmother also had strong hands and
a powerful heart. That she also spent her last days in a
Brooklyn hospital. Could they have landed in the same
brick village near the end? Perhaps they had the same
nurse dab water on their swollen lips, which they
thought was warm milk. Perhaps they are now re-
lieved of the journey. And speak Russian and shake
their heads at how our love has finally brought them
together in a soft mirror of that Russian plain. It
took a hundred years but perhaps they sip goat’s
milk on the other side. Perhaps they eat
sponge cake in heaven.