Song of a Seaport

Christine Valentine

Go to Vladivostok
Where the cockroaches scuttle at night
And sailors squash their spiny shells
Underfoot in drunken stupor
As they stagger down the murky streets

Go to Vladivostok
Where the children pale from tuberculosis
Smile and proffer grubby hands
While mothers paddle in the muddy Amur River
Endure the torpid sun, unforgiving.

Go to Vladivostok
Wash laundry in the sink
Hang it on the balcony to dry
Hope it will still be there come night

Go to Vladivostok
See the curve of Russian Island
The warships in dock
Nuclear domes silent in the early morning light

Go to Vladivostok
Feel the eyes watching while
You watch cockroaches
March along hot water pipes
As you wash the smog from your face
And know the eyes will be watching
As you sleep.


About the Author

Christine Valentine left England in 1964, went to the USA and worked for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe for 25 years. She writes poetry and non-fiction and is published in many western US anthologies, including Tipton Poetry Journal, High Plains Register, Sandcutters, Harp Strings Poetry Journal, Lowestoft Chronicle, and Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West.