Puberty, as Poem by Akhmatova


The scarcity of milk—
that was me, and the queue
for a new pair of shoes.

I was the Russian verse
of frozen feet, the worst
winter in memory.

I was snowfall left piled
on New World Street. I was
the boots that walked me black.

In the year of the long
freeze, other girls became
warm countries, while I stayed

behind, watched the dark parade
of seasons, waiting for
that one intemperate thing.