The Trip We Never Took
When we thought of going to Russia
during the infamous White Nights
you were still alive and well,
no paranoid delusions.
We planned to walk along the river at two am
although you said that you might need a nap first
and I agreed to keep you happy.
We anticipated the Bolshoi Ballet and the Kremlin.
More snow fell here and school stretched on and on,
interfering with our once a year father-daughter bonding that hadn’t happened for years.
Maybe it wasn’t such good timing,
you said simply,
but there was more you left unsaid.
I insisted it was fine.
I checked out tour guides from the library,
learned how to ask for directions in Russian,
and dreamed of borscht.
Then you abruptly cancelled, citing the Paris incident.
A collapse near Notre Dame, exhaustion.
I couldn’t change your mind.
Sometimes now I wonder
if that trip could have saved your life.
Instead of drowning,
you’d be safe inside the Hermitage.
I’d be viewing Lenin’s embalmed body,
not your closed casket.