Masha Udensiva-Brenner

My mother sighed

as a potato peel slid onto the yellow linoleum,

she wiped her forehead

and stared through the window.

She stirred the cabbage in a pan

with tough beef,

and complained of the cold

and the constant clouds

that hung, like thick blankets

over the peeling buildings.

My mother stood, peeling potatoes

over the sink

while the tea pot whistled

and the falling white snow

gave her a headache

as it landed in gray piles

on the quiet streets.

Masha Udensiva-Brenner was born in Moscow and immigrated to New York shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. She grew up in Manhattan, but abandoned it for Brooklyn, where she lives with three roommates and a dog named Charlie Brown. She has just completed her MFA in fiction at the City College of New York and works at the Harriman Institute, a center for Russian, Eurasian and East-Central European studies at Columbia University. Her poetry has appeared in Promethean and her articles have appeared in Dan's Papers and The Harriman Review. She is currently working on a novel called "The Parrot Abramka". You can find her work online at

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