Zĕna Kōan and the Shadow of Lady Liberty

Being Remembered and Forgotten

Fame and Death Over Coffee

7 min readApr 6, 2021


Wait, wait. Stop! Look!—I said loudly as she raised her arms and coffee cup in excitement.

With the napkin she still held in that hand, and the outstretched fingers of her other hand above her head, she was casting a fascinating long shadow across the courtyard floor of the cafe—seeming to be holding a torch and wearing a spiked crown.

Hah!—she laughed aloud—I look like Lady Liberty.

Regarding the Upcoming Novel by Zĕna Kōan

I was having tea with author Zĕna Kōan [“Shoegum Gumption”] at the Smak Cmak Cafe on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Smak (Cмак in cyrillic) translates to “Taste”.
This neighborhood—where she has lived most of her life and I used to visit regularly for its vibrant nightlife—still retains these small enclaves dipped in the Ukrainian culture that thrived here in the 1950s and 1960s.
We were sitting outdoors enjoying a favorite dessert—kutia (honey-drenched wheat and poppyseed pudding) and coffee.

Here’s to the end of the pandemic—Zĕna was saying—when I had interrupted her to point out the shadow.



aleXander hirka

Writer, visual artist, philosopher, autodidact, curmudgeon. More than half of what i do is make believe. https://alexanderhirka.nyc