For the cry from the well of “mama!”
for the crucifix torn from the wall,
for the lie of your ‘telegrams’
when there’s an order for an arrest —
I will dream of you, Russia.
In the accursedness of your victories,
in the anguish of your impotence,
in the nausea of your hangover —
why will fear break through?
All has been mourned, all have been sung to rest —
who will you flinch from all of a sudden?
Though you’ll deny it, take refuge in illusion,
put all the blame on those who have been killed —
I will still come and stand before you
and look into your eyes.
— Irina Ratushinskaya
Irina Ratushinskaya was sentenced to seven years in a Soviet labor camp and 5 years of internal exile for “agitation carried on for the purpose of subverting or weakening the Soviet regime.”
[Research note: Irina Ratushinskaya arrives in the U.S. (March 24, 1987, New York Times); Interview with Irinia Ratushinskaya (March 27, 1987, Christian Science Monitor); Irina Ratushinskaya’s return to Russia (June 5, 1999, Independent)]