“Kataya,” Zinaida Serebriakova, 1923, WikiArt.

Childhood haunting dreams, memories
Of lifetimes past, oft reoccurring, lost
In dark forests, fishing boats foundering
In winter-cold seas, grey moments before
Death struck, Evelyn startled awake, heart
Quaking, ten-year old too frightened to
Sleep again. Anxious hours before dawn,
She lapsed to fitful asleep, stark images, too
Real to be imagined, too surreal to endure.

Thus, mother’s plight, Evelyn’s dreams
Repeated weekly, frequently with fevered
Sweats, maladies of life-times beckoned
By impending death, soul-remembered
Angst before mortal flesh perished, light
Succumbed to darkness. Yet, mother’s
Intuition said hold Evelyn as she slept,
My face touching, warm breath into
Her locks of flowing henna hair.

Night of rhythmic breathing, Evelyn
Roused not in my arms, for her dream
Images shifted to my mind. Alas! Grey
Sea-waves pounding, small sailing skiff
Battered on cloud-lost purple cliffs.
As Evelyn slept, such dreams I dreamt,
For night hours, our two souls, mother-
Daughter, clasping-merged as one,
She slept soundly, hardly moved.

“Portrait of Daughter Katya,” Zinaida Serebriakova, 1929, WikiArt.

Few years, Evelyn’s dreams disappeared,
Her interests moved from dolls and play-
Pretending to young man next door.  One
Evening, we talked about her childhood
Dreams, odd thing she shared, “Mother,
You rescued me, strong arms pulling me
From cold waves, hands guiding me from
Forests dark, kisses upon head and cheek,
No harm could come to me, then or now.

Thematic paintings are of same daughter,
separated by six years, 1923 to 1929. 

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