Red Memories

Photo Credit: anastasia r via Compfight cc

Once upon a time, there was Moscow, and she was big, and she was red and she was covered tight, all locked up in her high tower. But she grew tired of this and she blew the tower up and let her hair down, and now everyone drives a BMW. Dachas have been renovated to include marble counter tops and refrigerators to keep the pre-cut herring and French cream sauce cool for when the streaming movie is over. Once upon a time, there was a Moscow, where I could hear the trains rolling past Izmailovo, the guttural cadence of the Russian tongue, the rain that falling heavy and hard as boots outside Lenin’s tomb.

She’s still here, old and strong and hidden inside the bushes and behind the birch tree forests, like Stretensky Monastery. Why do I always smile when I think of her? I look up at clouds as if Moscow is actually hanging inside their fat droplets. Moscow was the chicken pox, all hot-cold-humidity, all endless nights, and itching beneath the sheets. The window of my memory cracked now, I smell a certain kind of spiced mildew on a hot day when the sun refuses to set. 

Tiffani Burnett-Velez

Tiffani has been a freelance writer since 1996. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in Toe Good Poetry, Nicean Magazine, and St. Anthony Messenger. Her nonfiction essays and narrative journalism have been published in Pennsylvania Magazine, Yahoo! News, Country Discoveries, The Times-News, and many other magazines and newspapers across the US. She is the author of three novels, Budapest (featured at the NY Book Festival), A Berlin Story (a #1 Kindle Free Book), and All This Time (featured in The Big Thrill magazine). She holds a BA in Cognitive Science and has studied English and American Literature at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently completing her MFA in Writing at Lindenwood University.

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