Little Terror
To his mother he was Little Soso;  
to the people in his impoverished village, Dhugashvili,  
and even if some linguists claim that his patronymic 
means son of garbage, even if one of his arms  
was slightly longer than the other, for one year  
when he worked at the observatory in Tbilisi,  
he was handsome, and his mother adored him,  
choler and all. She knew that when he lay at night  
beneath the Georgian stars, his pockmarks  
vanished, and his arms seemed the same length.  
These nights at the observatory came many years 
before he would forsake his own son rotting  
in a German prison, before his wife  
would kill herself from shame and neglect, long before  
he allowed millions of Russians to starve. He was still  
Soso, astonished by the dignity of stars, the names of which  
owned nothing, claimed nothing, but pointed toward  
a sweet desire: loincloth, solitary ones, little belly, wonderful. 
Copyright © 2004–2023 Memorious