Whitewashed Waltz

by Yash Seyedbagheri

waltzing through my mind,
Tchaikovsky welcomes me
to bowler hats and beards
pianos clinking with cascades
while winter whispers over white columns

carriage wheels 
clickety-clack over nasal cadences, Twitter, and YouTube invective
my mind is vast space
my mind is St. Petersburg
of graceful gaits and long gowns

long live the Romanovs in uniforms
pogroms and dead peasants of old conveniently whitewashed
mind a canvas of piano notes
I could waltz through 1875, 1882, 1892
why can’t Tchaikovsky be on perpetual replay

waltz with me faster, Tchaikovsky
there’s a volley of nasal voices and fires 
firing into my mind like so-called very fine neo-Confederates
one pause to refresh is fatal
more Romanovs, please.

This poem was written in response to listening to Tchaikovsky’s masterpieces, in particular “December,” from The Seasons. I sought to explore how music serves as both a respite from the painful present, but also offers pitfalls in allowing the mind to idealize an equally dark past.  The poem is juxtaposed against the present political turmoil in the United States, further highlighting our instinctive needs for respite and to reimagine the past. 

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His story, “Soon,” was nominated for a Pushcart. Yash has also had work nominated for Best of the Net and The Best Small Fictions. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others. 

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