Budapest, 1945

Who can't but love a soldier wearing mums
In his helmet? A colossal private
Produced a flask of something and toasted
The derring-do of the Soviet troops.

We hadn't seen Russians since ambassador
Beksadian came by to warble
Airs from Rossini's "Sins of My Old Age."
He claimed he'd invented a nine-tone scale.

Once, in particularly high spirits,
He spat a gold filling across the room.
We admired its minute, solar glow
Before he popped it back into the tooth.

He resigned before Stalin could reach him.
After certain countries turned him away,
He settled with a people who taught him
To whistle like a thrush, only louder.