Eight dead in riots in Tbilisi,
cease-fire broken in Ossetia...
The news fax made six lines
at the bottom of page five.
But, at your breakfast table,
Ossetia is once again
the mountain slope where tree leaves
rippled in the wind
like the fur of a giant animal,
and the peaceful, sun-warmed little cemetery
where the wrinkled grave-digger explained
about the pictures on the tombstones,
his Russian rough-hewn,
yours almost non-existent,
when dying was something one did in bed
or in a car crash.
Tbilisi is that big tortoise, Testudo Græca,
who objected to being picked up
at the Botanical Garden,
and the elderly man
who, laughing, told your husband
that you were too skinny.
He'd like you better today,
if he hasn't died of old age
or been killed in the riots.