by Margarita Milton
The Crow dropped down onto an evergreen,
She was almost ready to have breakfast
But fell into deep thought,
While holding the cheese in her mouth.
To her chagrin, a Fox ran close by.
—Ivan A. Krylov,
The Crow and the Fox
Barely audible music and loudly scraping chairs
Await the interdisciplinary seekers of coffee
In the niche between Physics and Biology.
The winged man knew them all,
His fox still snatches the cheese
From the proud crow.
Thus I, sycophantic and sly,
Waited in line for toast and tea,
While he picked the sushi—
Does it go with cheese?
Stumble, stumble, stumble,
Mouth full of cheese.
Mumble, mumble, muble,
I’d like a check please.
The exchange of pleasantries marks the time;
Weather, TV shows, the new artwork on the walls.
Comfortable and well fed,
He accepts my interest and praise.
The cheese falls out:
Kar, kar, kar!
The fox, at least, was spared the song,
But I must nod and go along.
Kar at the elephant, kar at the donkey,
Kar at the warriors, kar at the pious,
Kar at the hypocrites, kar, kar, kar!
“Now if I may be so bold,
I had a beautiful dream—”
“I would like to redeem the—”
“I need to explain my—”
“Listen, there was a flying ship—”
KAR, KAR, KAR!
The shadow of the winged man
Falls over the table;
People as animals.
I’d better take the cheese
And slink away,
Even if it’s moldy.
Oh, shut up, both of you!
The beautiful dream does not have to be told but lived. Hold your branches up to the sky, so you do not have to stand on the backs of the stampeding herd. The lattice of the leaves will bring you clean air, the prophecy of the wind. Accept the prophecy of the wind.
Margarita Milton grew up in Brooklyn, though she was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Stony Brook University, where she worked in the lab of Nancy Goroff on the synthesis of aromatic belts. Currently she is working towards her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Columbia University, where she does research in the lab of Colin Nuckolls. She is making tailored organic molecules for electronic devices. When she is not doing research, talking about research, or thinking about research, she reads and sometimes writes poetry and literature.