Leo Yankevich

Silver Star - 3,432 Points (October 30,1961 / Farrell, Pennsylvania)

Gulag Burial Marker - Poem by Leo Yankevich

(Eastern Siberia)

In a graveyard on a hill near Magadan,
the heavens shed light on the skull and bones
of what looks like a halfway-risen man,

a poet or a priest who died a slave,
and, buried underneath dry brush and stones,
lay for decades in a makeshift grave.

But now he lingers in a paradise
of brambleberries, nettles, pines, and cones,
with shadows in the sockets of his eyes,

as if to show he doesn’t want to wake,
as if he wished to let out yet more moans,
and to protest against the wooden stake,

the crimson star, the absence of a cross,
the way, the truth, the light that mock his loss.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, December 28, 2009

Poem Edited: Monday, May 30, 2011

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