It was winter and snow at the station.
A moment it was, just a moment we shared,
nothing compared with eternity really,
fate decided we should share this train, together.
Or was it nothing like that, just two passengers
boarding? It could have been anyone. I took out my book.
I read Solzhenitsyn, well I gave it a try,
as the white window views passed by us.
You watched me, and took the book
and you hold my hand for a moment to show
a phrase on a page in the Russian translation.
The words went above me, beyond language
as I listened how you read them out loud.
Heavy, reverberating, deep, your voice told me
of lonesome landscapes, depression, war,
or whatever it meant, in rhyming verses,
while the train approvingly, comforting, commented
with every vowelless Russian syllable.
I didn’t ask for your name, but you gave it away,
as you and the writer shared it, you claimed.
I pronounced it, and you smiled.
“You should be called Olga,” you said,
a name I didn’t particularly like.
I laughed instead of asking why.
We shared your bread and half a bottle of wine,
and when you had reached your destination,
we just looked at each other.
You wanted to say something
but didn’t. Still being strangers
we parted without a goodbye.
When the train left the station,
you still stood there though;
a black monument of loneliness
lost in the pain of the snow,
raising your hand, and we waved.
Nothing changed, but everything was different
in the way I would think about the name Olga in future.