The Common Good
January-February 2002

Peasants Around Small Fires

by Therese Halscheid | January-February 2002

Along the Volga River, Russia 1993

flames orange their eyes
the life
inside
their worn faces

one, cooking slim fish,
manages a silenced name—

God

he says
with frightened pleasure

God
and again
God

like so, like that

while waters came—

the current language of water there
at their boats
moored
to the trees
by the banks of Yaroslavl

God
with winds letting loose
against evening
pushing
a slow mist upon everything—

God he continues
God

until they stand,

they all sing
barely seen
unsecreting

the new sound of their bodies.

Therése Halscheid teaches creative writing at Atlantic Cape Community College in New Jersey. Her poetry collection is titled Powertalk.

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