Andrey Gritsman, a native of Moscow, immigrated to the United States in 1981. He is a physician who is also a poet and essayist. He has published six volumes of poetry in Russian and five in English. He has been nominated for the 2005-2010 Pushcart Prize and also was on the Short List for PEN American Center Biennial Osterweil Poetry Award for 2005. His work has also been anthologized in Modern Poetry in Translation (UK), Crossing Centuries (New Generation in Russian Poetry), and in the anthology The Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from the Robert Frost Place and others.He received his MFA in poetry from Vermont College. Andrey runs the Intercultural Poetry Series in a popular literary club, Cornelia Street Cafe, in New York City and also edits an international poetry magazine Interpoezia. On Libations: “My favorite drink is Campari on ice, slice of lime and a splash of Gin! Very refreshing, not too sweet, and if you have two or three - your own poems begin to look like a work of genius!”

Andrey Gritsman

Family Night Out

We are sitting in Celeste,

Upper West Side, Italian, moderately priced,

cash only, my grown-up daughter

in front of me generously shedding tears

from her huge gray eyes into the pasta special,

$11.99 with shallots. My former wife

on my right, whom I still love,

dropping tears into the broiled red snapper,

gangs up with my daughter

on that all the men are

scoundrels, idiots and nuts.

I agree, sadistically torturing my veal marsala,

washed down with a fourth glass of pinot grigio,

looking at my yet relatively innocent son,

as my stepdaughter Polina calls me on her cell

looking for the ladder at home

since our cat got stuck on the roof and is screaming so bad

the older couple at the table next to us

can hear the cat and

turn their heads indignantly.

My current wife, whom I also love,

at the same time is calling her daughter Polina

not entirely happy

with the planned roof expedition.

She is stuck on the GW Bridge, invisible

in her Corolla lost in the jungle

of huge pile of papers, trash,

large and small brown bags and NPR pontificating.

Still, we make it to the dessert and the girls now

shed tears into fresh tiramisu,

as I keep thinking of my Xanax

in the bathroom closet,

ordering a quadruple decaf espresso.

We come out on Columbus,

weeping, swaying and shaking

after a lovely family dinner.

The other Woman whispers to me from the cloud

hovering over the street:

Andryusha, this is your life,

don’t fight destiny.

Destiny takes its own course:

I see that my car has

a nasty orange $150 love letter

from the NYC Traffic Violations Department

and the right side mirror is smashed off

by the garbage truck of the NYC Sanitation Dept.

and my son yells into my ear

over the police siren:

It’s OK, Dad, it’s New York, Dad. It’s OK.

And I think: from the distance

a parking ticket looks like

a large wet autumn maple leaf

stuck to the windshield

so many falls ago.

Photo by Seth Long