from a work-in-progress

stooks at tiudiv

Exhibit 6: above Tiudiv

At each farm, someone is picking apples, by ladder, by filling a bucket with windfalls. Stooks stand in the fields. Horses graze, dogs sleep as though dead in the dry grass. There are pumpkins still in the gardens, heaps of watermelons, horseradish leaves lush by the houses. At the farm where we turn to climb the road to Sokilske, an old table sits under a pear tree and a family is seated around it. The man raises his glass. A horse lifts its head as our wheels spin briefly, gaining traction for the steep rise. We can almost smell the Cheremosh River. And listenthere are chickadees in the sunflowers. Chickens scatter at the side of the road.

Open the doors to the namesakes who have driven from Ivankivtsi, bearing champagne, chocolates, a length of beautiful Rushnyk, stitched in red with the symbol for a sown field, fertility, glowing with life. Sit at a table in the open lobby, all of you making marks on a paper: this one, and this one, and this one. They heard about you on Sunday in church, the priest’s wife sharing news of your visit. And they’ve driven all that way on the rough roads to embrace you, to say their own names, the names of those who went to Canada. They have photographs and you show them the women your grandfather carried with him, the ones who ended up in the Moirs Happiness Package with an army book, a travel book giving him permission to leave but not to return.

At breakfast there is homemade butter for the bread, and uzvar, a juice made with dried apples and prunes. Over the valley below smoke hangs where someone is burning leaves, ghosts of trees and vines hovering until evening.

— from “Museum of the Multiple Village”

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