Problems of Translation*

Skoba is a feminine Russian noun
            meaning crampon
In English.

So what the hell does crampon mean?

I know what tampon means –
which rhymes with crampon.
That’s what my girlfriend is always running
            out of
At one o’clock in the morning.

I also know what cramp means,
            which, again,
Reminds me of my girlfriend.
That’s what she gets when the tampon
Isn’t on right.
Or in right.
And what I get, when
            I haven’t been in
In a long time.

And I think I know what “on” means
At least in such expressions as
            pissed on
            turned on
            or onamatopoeia.

And that reminds me of my girlfriend
            too, since . . .
Oh, well.  We won’t go into that.
But crampon.


Maybe I need a new Russian dictionary?

*Published in Hyn Anthology, 1972.