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The Samovar

The samovar sits on a table

in my living room like a shrine.

Almost two feet tall

with a chimney on top,

common for tea-making

in 19th century Russian households

and taverns.

The story is—

this antique brass urn

was carried from Russia

as a lucky charm

at the turn of the 20th century

by a young man, an ancestor

longing for freedom,

opportunity in a new land.

Years later, a cousin I had met

on Ancestry packed up this possession

of her mother’s uncle (the ancestor).

Displayed for decades

in her living room,

previously in her parents’ home,

the golden samovar traveled

in planes and trucks

across the country to me.

One hundred and fifteen years

after arriving at Ellis Island

wrapped inside my ancestor’s belongings

with feet and handles,

a bulging belly like a Buddha,

and an ornate faucet,

this stately smooth vessel

sits in my living room,



by Lois Perch Villemaire

Lois Perch Villemaire is the author of “My Eight Greats,” a family history in poetry and prose published in 2023. Her work has appeared in such places as Blue Mountain Review, Ekphrastic Review, One Art: A Journal of Poetry, Pen In Hand, Topical Poetry, Post Grad Journal, and an anthology entitled I Am My Father’s Daughter. She lives in Annapolis, MD.


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