River of Blood
"I end as a traitor to my party, a traitor who must be shot."
– Sergei Mrachkovsky, 22 August, 1936
Night in Coyoacan. The darkness heavy with fear and longing.
Natalia Sedova awakens from her dreams. Gunshots
ring out in the Mexican dark… “They are shooting here,
in our room,” cries Natalia, her voice, shrill and frightened.
The Old Man moves slowly at first. He is not afraid to die
and cares little for his own safety – he fires after his attackers
with his revolver, but it is no use, Siqueiros and his men
disappear into the May dawn and a pall of silence descends.
Quietly then, he remembers the names: Zinoviev, Kamenev,
Sokolnikov, Bubnov, Bukharin, Serebrayakov, Smilga,
Berzin, Krestinsky, Antonov-Ovseyenko, Joffe, Kiselev,
Preobrazhensky and Varvara Nikolayevna Yakovleva.
Lev Davidovich knows there will be no reunion of old Bolsheviks,
the Old Guard are gone into dust, they have been forcibly removed
from the scene of history and they will speak no more in the rabid air,
they have given their last brave breaths but the end was inevitable.
Trotsky recalls his trips into the mountains to collect cactuses,
and Natasha milling the grain for baking bread and tortillas.
He pulls his grandson Sieva closer to his chest and calls out
to his wife, “Natasha, they have let us live for one more day!”
(first published on PoetryKit website)