L. Shapley Bassen

Gogol’s 1836 Nose
Inspired by a story in A SWIM IN A POND IN THE RAIN, George Saunders, 2021

Had enough now? Absurdity
was old before Orwell’s 1984
lost its nose in the past.
Russian Nabokov said
Ukrainian Gogol was
nose-obsessed. Skaz is Russian
for Gogol’s skew of point of view,
all absurd. In his old story,
long before Gregor Samsa awoke
buggy, a barber found a nose
in a loaf of bread. Not only lost
noses now outrage Ukraine,
not only faces are flat grotesques.
No sunflowers grow in harrowed
meadows. Revile Russian Putin
cutting off noses to spite his face.



L. Shapley Bassen’s grandmother was a telegrapher on Wall Street a century ago who taught her to read and tapped messages to her in Morse Code. She sees the world bi-focally through science and art. A New Yorker living in Rhode Island, she is a multi-published & prize-winning author of fiction, poetry, & drama. 2019 collected works poetry What Suits a Nudist? (Clare Songbirds Publishing House) She is a fiction editor at https://www.craftliterary.com/.

WEBSITE: http://www.lsbassen.com/