Ahura Mazda; Thus Spoke Zarathustra
by Alex Cigale
I call on the spirits of those who died
in the fire: be with us, live on in our hearts.
The girl dropped her pink hat like a small cloud.
In weightless silence this seemed proof enough.
She was gently prodding the cat’s feelings.
Why are you so rude and unkind to Lola?
The New Year heralds the coming of spring.
Urban leprechauns leap over the flames.
Excuse me! I shouted, pointing to the floor.
Between us we could hold onto nothing.
Black fur standing on end on his arched back
like a thousand tiny exclamation marks.
After an hour, the dwindling bonfires
were banked, consolidated into one fire.
Desperately searching all my pockets,
patting myself down for the lost wallet.
He was shredding the notes she had taken.
Gatti! I see you will need some more work.
And a few people gathered to reflect.
He had belonged to a really crazy friend.
For a while after that, I lost nothing.
Alex Cigale’s poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Green Mountains Review, North American Review, Tampa Review, and The Literary Review, and online in Asymptote, Drunken Boat, and McSweeney’s. His translations from the Russian can be found in Ancora Imparo, Cimarron Review, Literary Imagination, Modern Poetry in Translation, PEN America, Brooklyn Rail InTranslation, The Manhattan Review, St. Ann’s Review, and Washington Square Review. He is currently Assistant Professor at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.