I fell asleep dreaming of spring
and lilacs stolen from gardens
and the memory of their fragrance
and time slips backwards
to a faraway summer
in St. Petersburg,
that city of palaces strung along
necklaces of boulevards,
floating at the edge of the sea
so far north the horizon seems to stop, there;
you have come to the end of the world.
Old women in their kerchiefs
sold bunches of lilacs
outside metro stations,
their scent trailing
down the escalators,
like Persephone descending
to the underworld.
Or rather, the reverse:
the sweet fragrance leading you upwards
from the subterranean palaces of the metro
like Persephone returning back to spring and earth.