The Poplar Waltz

                                    Dedicated to Denny

I never gave up loving you, I buried you inside.

I close my eyes and see the ‎poplar trees and the sunlight,

The gravel of the road by the cemetery gate,

And all those black cars, single row, in a motorcade,

And all the black cars in a row in the motorcade.

I was eleven, you – fourteen, the year the war began.

Back then – I thought I was a teen, I thought you were a man.

The children’s dance at the resort. The longing for romance.

My palms got sweaty, my breath caught, when you asked me to dance,

My palms got sweaty, my heart stopped, when you asked me to dance.

Your hair seemed golden, your eyes – quartz. I’ve never danced before.

The band had played a slow waltz. We swirled across the floor. 

The sapphire waves. The orange ‎sun. The rustle of the sand…

It took two nations and a gun to make a girl’s dream end,

It took two governments, one gun, to make a girl’s dream end.

The year was 1989, before the Wall came down.

The next day, everything seemed fine, you rode your bike to town.

The first news of gunfire came in. Our peaceful world was gone.

People were running. No one seemed to know what’s going on.

People were crying. No one seemed to know what’s going on.

I can’t forget the terror in your parents’ eyes that day,

Or how your sister’s hair turned from black to ashen gray.

They brought you on a stretcher, and the sheet was stained in red.

I blankly stared, with the waltz still playing in my head.

I stared, and the stupid waltz kept playing in my head.

Denny! – you are a part of all I am; both love and hate.

I should’ve saved you from that brawl between two bickering states.

The Soviet Union would collapse and the free world would win.

That victory was bought by us: one boy’s life, one girl’s dream.

The price for that was paid by us: one boy’s life, one girl’s dream.

Somewhere in a war-torn, small land by a vacant sea,

Still stands the wreckage of the hall where you had danced with me,

The cemetery, and your grave, to which I cannot get.

Only the poplar trees are waltzing there at sunset.

I know the poplar trees are waltzing there at sunset.

Julie Deshtor 2017

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About Julie Deshtor

Julie Deshtor grew up in the Soviet Union during the turbulent 90's, and moved to the United States shortly after the Soviet Empire collapsed in 1991. A bilingual author, Julie writes both fiction and poetry, as well as translating poetry and lyrics. She brings her rich cultural and life experienced to her fiction, exploring the psychological struggles of her characters with compassion and insight, as they navigate the murky waters of the modern society. Julie currently resides in Utah, USA. Her interests include art, world literature, zoology, anthropology and urban subculture
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