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
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
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
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

As SpaceX blasted
off to relocate everyone to Mars.