By Laremy Lee

The squeezing of water from stones requires
a craggy resilience, like rocks being rolled up
a hill, refusing to be weathered by storms
and the possession of a pebble-like dexterity,
like the way pieces of rubble sidle
into your shoes to surprise you.

And one day, when you wake to find
you’ve finally wrung the stone dry,
it will try to justify its reluctance
to why it hadn’t rolled on to greater things:
becoming part of a mossy wall, or
an obelisk scraping the skies of some old world city –
because it has always been A Fortress.

“I am who I am,” it will insist,
pounding the table.
holding its head up high –
maintaining its bid at dignity
as we watch it obliquely
hang its hurt behind an
impregnable facade
of adamantine obtusity.

First published in Dudarev, V., ed. Yunost 12 (2013): 60. Trans. Nikitina, E. Print.