by Sarah-Jane Abate
Here in Yaroslavl when lovers are in love they close a padlock around the rail keeping them from the river and toss the key in. Standing on the embankment, I can barely see the water for the locks I do not know the word for love. I have learned only the essentials Hello How are you I (am) hungry not wanting to be burdened down. * Here in Russia they sell locks just for lovers Names scratched in Olga u Denis 02.09. 2011 The babushki walk along the rails and proclaim the love they find. Olga Denis Alex Maria KirrelNatasha until the locks are too close together to read anymore. * Here in Russia I don’t think of you at all. but I don’t think of anyone else, either so I guess that’s something. * The city cuts the locks off every year, there are so many. But the city keeps them all of them. * I wonder if anyone changes their mind jumps the railing the handles of the locks digging into the palms of their hands as they vault over if anyone swims out after the key The keys by now having been swallowed by fish. While the old women read the locks The old men fish one there every day I am casting his line off the edge of the green riverfront hotel looking for an old love a reminder of purpose or maybe just dinner. * Here in Russia I don’t know what to want. I never see lovers by the river during the day. I see them kiss passionately in the streets, on benches, in parks. Their hands like rivers. In Russia I behave myself. I take pictures but touch nothing and no one. * The keys given over to the city. The city hoards them. The fishermen eating metal for dinner no teeth left. * You lock up the river and throw your love in.
Sarah-Jane Abate is a junior creative writing major from Susquehanna University. She writes both fiction and poetry, and enjoys writing about places she is from and has been. She is from Montrose, a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. Recently, she was lucky enough to travel to Russia, which was an irreplaceable experience, although there were regrettably less bears than she had hoped for.