Like Life Itself

A poem based upon a reading of Anna Karenina

Jay Sizemore
Published in
7 min readNov 17, 2021


Photo by LucasVphotos on Unsplash

~after Leo Tolstoy

Forget yourself and live
within the needs of time,
you know what you want to know,
that free will is an illusion,
so let the children play with pistols.

Life is like a quadrille
when you’re waiting to dance
the mazurka, an unrequited
desire for sleep, the gaze
of a woman through a shop window,
mannequin in black velvet


as a piebald mountain,
patches of snow
in the shapeless dark,
hazy cloudbank vapor veil
draped down the rock
like lace and tule
caressing a dancer’s spine.

We live in the presence
of such mountains
we never intend to climb,
but the verdant contentedness
of the valley
can begin to feel morose,
and so.



Jay Sizemore

Provocative truth teller, author of APNEA & Ignore the Dead. Cat dad. Dog dad. Husband. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at: