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Rebe Huntman


Moscow, 1983

She is 19 & drunk on Dostoevsky when she dreams

of walking the Volga. There will be snow dusting

the Kremlin & she will be dressed in black. The man,

slick with Marx & Mayakovsky, will take her hand as

they stand in line to see Lenin pickled in his tomb. Shoot

vodka with some men he knows. Later, in the eye

of night he will undress her, & as she thrills to the trill

of Pushkin pouring from his throat, she will catch

the reflection of her own eyes sparking in the moon of his

& believe this is all there is to love. Perhaps, if the mother

were alive, she might warn the daughter that the river,

the moon, are easy. It is the waking that is hard—

the man now distant at the edge of the bed & & you, left

with your own skin, stark & naked beneath the knife of day.


Leningrad, 1983

after Ocean Vuong

What I need you to see is not

how Spring is stilled

by the click of the shutter—

the inadequacy of the girl’s

neckline torn like Alex

from Flashdance to reveal

her motherless throat,

or the two men—


like exclamation marks

beside her on a park

bench piercing

the horizon

with their gaze,

but the hands holding

the camera that are

my father’s hands,

& the face squinting

into the sun that is

his daughter, his flesh.

Like all photographs

this one fails to tell

the story. Like where

the girl is thinking

of yet another man—

their tour guide sworn

to be their shepherd

in this foreign land.

How, not yet fluent

in the tricks of the moon,

she’d mistaken the flash

of conquest in his eyes

for love.

Or how,

when the trip

draws to a close,

the father

will slip

a bill

into his


a tip

for showing

them all

a good time,

& the girl

will be too


to stop him.


Rebe Huntman's poems, essays, and stories appear in such places as The Southern Review, CRAFT Literary, Ninth Letter, South Loop Review, Tampa Review, Quarter After Eight, Sonora Review, Juked, and The Pinch. The recipient of an Ohio Individual Excellence Award, she holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from The Ohio State University. Her debut memoir, My Mother in Havana, is forthcoming from Monkfish Books. Find her at and on Instagram @rebehuntman.


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