A week before Easter our Cyprus hotel
hosted the season’s last two conferences –
‘Moscow Niardmedic’, ‘Nestlé in Russia’.
The spacious, tiled, white walled lounge, the free bars,
the terraces with pergolas were filled
with Big Pharma salespersons on a jolly –
the many ethnicities of Russia,
all seemingly impassive, inscrutable,
seemingly suspicious of strangers.
April 3rd on the St Petersburg metro
a bomb was detonated between stations…
April 7th the US Sixth Fleet,
below the horizon due south from here,
launched its missiles against Syria…
That afternoon an Uzbek exile
drove a lorry at a crowd in Stockholm…
One evening, in the resident pianist’s break,
a Russian improvised – then played a slow,
soft melody all his compatriots knew.
They sang sotto voce, suffusing the space
with a wistful murmur.