Breach, Jacqueline Dee Parker

You are the requiem.
Had you not stayed
with your suitcase packed
the fear in layers
the notes unsorted
the key in the lock
there might have been a different music
unpacked in safer rooms.
There might have been movement
of compliant notes along a life
oblivious to hunger
fuller melodies perhaps
blocking out the death cries of children
on the streets of a distant city
conceived of by a tyrant
in another age.
As it is
you have been called an enemy at home
and you have been condemned abroad
called to account
by those who choose to count on fingers
and those for whom the formula
is always the simplest tune.
The wrong and right
the black car in the night
and the righteous on white steeds
flamboyant signatories
to Solzhenitzyn’s martyrdom.
Your staying in place
your dodging the bullet
your awful silences
remained incomprehensible.
Unreadable your face behind thick lenses
an iron curtain
for those who failed to comprehend
your scherzo
and didn’t recognise you
among the men digging trenches.
You are the requiem
for Zoschenko and Meyerhold
for Michoels for Tukhachevsky
for the nameless
gone in your time
for a time best forgotten
smoothed out and folded
stashed away
in the suitcase of fear.