The Boy Nikolai

The Boy Nikolai

Wolves live in our cistern.

They moved in the day Mr Adams

told us a story in assembly about that Russian boy.

Their disguise is a cascade

of blued water, like Siberian blizzards.

Their appetite as deep and impossible

as the River Volga;

Nikolai was only the start.

I know it’s true:

Mum stops tutting

when I ask her to flush,

saves herself, tooth and claw,

for Dad.

Even in daytime, the wolves

don’t rest. Nikolai was taken at noon.

Rising wind screamed like a child

in the sleigh-driver’s ears,

and falling snow buried

the smell of blood.

Running isn’t fast enough.

Wolves can’t climb, I whisper,

over and over, but I fall asleep

with my head under cover,

and lie with my legs tight-crossed

if I wake in the night.

My parents’ voices whip

like winter winds on Russian plains,

and I stay awake,

remembering the boy Nikolai.

first published in Tarot online journal, issue 1, December 2020

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  14 comments for “The Boy Nikolai

  1. 22/05/2021 at 2:14 am

    Wow! This is so well-written. This is an example of how poetry can trigger so many thoughts and emotions even in a short piece. I was getting goosebumps reading it, picturing the way that the child would have felt in that moment with the story of Nikolai in their head. You definitely have a gift with words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trish
      22/05/2021 at 8:34 pm

      thank you

      Like

  2. The Prepping Wife
    22/05/2021 at 12:22 am

    I love how many emotions your poems bring out for me, Trish! Another excellent piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trish
      22/05/2021 at 8:35 pm

      thank you

      Like

  3. Lyosha Varezhkina
    21/05/2021 at 11:57 pm

    you are so talented! the poem is absolutely beautiful even for person who is generally not a fan of poetry

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trish
      22/05/2021 at 12:12 am

      Thank you!

      Like

  4. 21/05/2021 at 6:05 am

    I love the picture you chose to go with this poem. It really helps with the visualization. Wolves are so beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trish
      21/05/2021 at 9:11 pm

      Thank you

      Like

  5. 20/05/2021 at 3:35 pm

    oohh this was a goosebump-inducing piece! Great work, Trish!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trish
      20/05/2021 at 5:06 pm

      thank you!

      Like

  6. 19/05/2021 at 6:32 pm

    Great poem. The language you used totally fits with the mood of the picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trish
      19/05/2021 at 10:13 pm

      thank you

      Like

  7. 17/05/2021 at 8:14 am

    Trish this is phenomenal. You do need to start publishing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trish
      17/05/2021 at 1:36 pm

      Thank you. I’m working on a collection!

      Like

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