the ides of July those fifty years ago, when
my grandmother split wide, unbroken, unnamed
light pouring out of her: a river into a river.
Svet: luminescence, shine. The child took a while
to cry. Sveta: pure, blessed, divine. The girl
had a weak spine and bowing legs and hardly
any hair and left too little of herself inside.
Call her Svetlana. Call her by way of ignited sky
and fairytale and yellow luster and the morning.
Know her name was cast out of orthodox
holy water under the glow of a golden cross.
Recast her chosen and a zhid and watch her suffer
the way all light must, knowing
it is the light.
by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach