Marina’s Epic

The Eskimos were ravaging Peru.
Grandfather fought the Hittites.
Mother sold firecrackers to the Bedouins.

One night when the moon was full
She met the lion who ate Lev Tolstoy.

We were inmates of an orphanage in Kraków;
A prison in Panama;
A school for the blind in Genoa.

My sister insisted on rescuing lady bugs.
Down a succession of gloomy corridors.
She carried the glistening and shivering creature
On the long nail of her index finger.

Our Fate was a crackpot inventor
Working in a garage.

In Paris I knew a Russian lady
Who scrubbed floors at the opera
With a rose between her teeth like Carmen.