Excerpt from A STONE FOR NINA
These things remain of her:
two tsarist lamb’s wool schoolboy caps;
a silver cigarette box, inlaid with malachite, monogrammed “NC’;
two frayed copies of Soviet Life, plump farmers astride smiling red tractors;
and a faded sepia photo a high cheek-boned woman at the helm of a speed boat, cat-grinning at the camera, captain’s cap cocked jauntily to the left. On the back in pencil: Nice, France, 1946.
These things have been moved from Washington to New York to Baltimore, back to D.C., back to New York, to a tiny village nestled on the Hudson twenty miles south of Albany. They sit in a cupboard silted by spiders.
Nina lies in a potter’s field plot in an unkempt part of Washington. She’s been there for nearly forty years.