It must have been the season of the midnight sun,

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

the ides of July those fifty years ago, when
my grandmother split wide, unbroken, unnamed 
light pouring out of her: a river into a river. 

Svet: luminescence, shine. The child took a while
to cry. Sveta: pure, blessed, divine. The girl 
had a weak spine and bowing legs and hardly 

any hair and left too little of herself inside. 
Call her Svetlana. Call her by way of ignited sky 
and fairytale and yellow luster and the morning. 

Know her name was cast out of orthodox 
holy water under the glow of a golden cross. 
Recast her chosen and a zhid and watch her suffer 

the way all light must, knowing 
                                                it is the light.

by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach