One Evening, Dora Pejačević and Chingiz Aitmatov Meet in Death – Danielle Ranucci

As SpaceX blasted off to relocate everyone to Mars,

a planet where it was hoped

they could forever leave behind

war and poverty and famine and sorrow,

Croatian composer Dora Pejačević

sat beside Kyrgyz writer Chingiz Aitmatov

one evening in Death,

and asked him for news

about what he had seen in his life

of humanity’s strivings

to achieve a grand utopia.

a planet where it was hoped

they could forever leave behind

war and poverty and famine and sorrow,

Croatian composer Dora Pejačević

sat beside Kyrgyz writer Chingiz Aitmatov

one evening in Death,

and asked him for news

about what he had seen in his life

of humanity’s strivings

to achieve a grand utopia.

Dora went on,

As an aristocrat during the First World War,

I witnessed how my fellows grew

callous towards others’ suffering,

seeking only to protect their own 

wealth, and to better serve 

my conscience I

forsook them.

And I was happy, even if

I couldn’t cause any of the others to change

with me.

But now, she said to him,

has any of it changed

for the better,

in your time,

when no riches existed?

No, he said. No, no, no,

not in Stalin’s USSR.

As a boy I had to board a train 

and leave behind 

my father,

who they purged

and who I never saw again.

And though no wealth existed, the State grew

rich by stealing 

from prisoners’ corpses,

and creating Collective farms that never,

never fed

anyone,

but let the farmers rot

as those in Moscow laughed.

Pity, sighed Dora,

rising from her place.

I hoped things

would have been different

in the future. Well now.

Farewell, Chingiz. Perhaps

we’ll receive better news

from those living on Earth

now.

As SpaceX blasted

off to relocate everyone to Mars.