Relentlessly the week-long leak from my sink
angers the Grebnikovs below me,
Misha coping with joints so painful the concert
violinist has forgotten how to saw a bow; Lydia
banging on her ceiling/my floor, the broom handle,
futile against the drip, but the rat-a-tat-tatting’s
a startling imitation of a militia issue Makarov.
Moscow never learned how to reverse the law
that insists water seeks its own level, but it has tried.
Two who remember Stalin,
two who endured a lifetime of Soviet insanity
now inherit the new Russian lunacy, accepting it
all so stoically, an imprint on the Muscovite genome.
Like bugs in amber,
the Grebnikovs, complaining for fifty years
to the Duma of the Wall, the Ministry of the Ceiling,
expect no action, expect nothing, and are duly rewarded.
They enjoy no other sport as much as Olympic indoor cursing.
I phone them. Dear Misha, I say, please know
that I share your distress. Chto delat’?
But what is to be done?
Lydia has put on some tea, he tells me.
She has made your favorite dessert—napolyon.
Come down, Vanushka. The mystery of the pipes.
We’ll discuss it further.