I own exactly seven pairs
of crushed-velvet Juicy Couture
tracksuits, and I have kept each one
as a relic for survival.
Soviet diaspora women
glittering in Swarovski unison:
the rare turquoise teal
I fished out of the sea
of discount bins, the buttercream
frosted banana I accidentally
stole from an outlet store in Texas.
For the woman who is
interested in nature, I recommend
a hunter green or an ombré sequined sunset.
If you only want to dip your toe in velour,
then we can start you off with a modest gray
or a cool mint. That was the color I was wearing
when a man on the street called me a Russian whore,
which wasn’t quite as bad as all of the academics
who have called me exotic and asked how much vodka
Svetlana should drink in their short story. The truth is
I would be the tsarina of tracksuits if I wasn’t born
after the denim revolution. When they come for me,
I want to be dressed in the midnight blue
and buried with every stereotype you can think of.
Inside my coffin there will be a smaller coffin,
the papers will call it “A Matryoshka Laid to Rest,”
embalm me in caviar, and have Yakov Smirnoff give the eulogy
that begins, “In Soviet Russia tracksuit wears you.”