Garden Parkway YMCA
22 November 1963
Could it be only two months since I let your fingers slip from my hand as that train departed Voronezh station? I fear that this trip was a great mistake. . . .
The boat sailed from Sevastopol as scheduled. Just two days and we were through the Bosporus/Dardanelles and into the incredibly blue Aegean and the Mediterranean. On September 27 we passed Gibraltar and started the long haul across the Atlantic. The work was not demanding though the ship was quite dirty and not really very pleasant.
We docked at Houston in the state of Texas on October 9. Defecting was surprisingly easy. There was supposed to be work in Dallas so I walked/hitch-hiked here last month. But I have not been able to find any work.
The people here, though friendly, are coarse and brash. The stores overflow with televisions, record players, mink coats, but there are many very poor people here too...
The great American leader, Kennedy, was shot and killed today, driving in his open-topped car along the streets of this very city.
My money is gone; my strength, exhausted. How blithely I left you and Russia behind! I feel my lips brushing the tiny hairs on the back of your neck, your nipples swelling. . . . Sophie! May you know great happiness and love! I only ask that in the spring when you visit Krymskaya Pond, that you remember how we knelt there, how I whispered in your ear there, when the air is filled with the scent of its cherry trees that you remember what we felt there. . . .
Yours, always, Nickolay
Hear Lucius/Jerry read the poem: humanist-art.org/audio/SoF_055_sophie.MP3 .
This poem is part of the Scraps of Faith collection of poems ( https://humanist-art.org/scrapsoffaith.htm )