An Inheritance of Blue Flowers 

I.

The first time is for love. She sews diamonds
into the linings of her furs. Her maiden
name, the death sentence, dried up like winter roses. No one
gives her—she keeps the picture of her father,
with his uniform burned out. 

First husband is whisked away like spun sugar,
a number stamped on his wrist, a tag sewn
through his ear, a sow. Disappearance
is death—the details get hazy,
how do you divorce a plume of steam?
First husband was a good man, she says,
and her lids crust with salt of the Baku coast,
she hides a jump in her eyes at the morning
paper, a lapse of their overcast 

With her father at the ballet, she’d practice holding
her lungs until she floated like the
ballerinas. Now, she is blue
in the face for different reasons. 

II.

The second time, she marries
under a blanket of petals, foam on an upper lip,
clad in militant grey, Moscow skies.
Instead of a dowry, my grandfather pays a
ransom and that night, she tears the mattress
with her teeth and he cracks her like leather.
It makes sense, that it’s the start
of my father. 

III.

Grandfather is Ivan and father is Nikolai
and Babushka is Ludmila, but not really,
since she is busy being heartbreak. I am
Katya, from either the Russian pure
or the Russian torture, depending
who you ask, and she can’t look at me
because of the cowhide of my eyes. 

In Moscow, they give baby girls their father’s
name sandwiched between sweetheart and Daughter of,
an ownership, a reminder, a butterscotch wrapped
in foil, but my father left me a blank space.

 
 

Katerina Ivanov is a Mexican-Russian writer raised in Northern Florida. Her work in multiple genres has been published in Bird’s Thumb, The Florida Review, and The Nashville Review. She is currently an MFA student at the University of Arizona. You can follow her @kativanovwrites.