Papa’s Handwriting

Your handwriting danced
like a tipsy hieroglyph.
Birthday cards, signed books, paperwork
decorated by impatient smudges.

Mama is our only Rosetta Stone.
Like all the best translators,
she has her secrets to nurture
and her secrets to conjure.

Your handwriting reminds
me of the greasy fingerprints
crowding your crystal wine glass,
anxious moths around a lantern.

Still young, as I helped clear
the table after the adults left
my fingers would not quite
match the trail left by your hands.

Mama still says
I hold a glass like you,
but thank goodness
my handwriting is different.

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Zhenya Yevtushenko

Zhenya Yevtushenko is one of the sons of the late poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. He is a published translator, a former substitute teacher and funeral home consultant. Currently, Zhenya has resumed pursuing his undergraduate degrees in Political Science, History and English. Zhenya aspires to become a Foreign Service Officer and a literary translator. He resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma and owes his inspiration to his brothers, his mother, and to the love of his life, Olivia.

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