No. 4 & 5


Dmitrii Bavilsky  

Translated from the Russian by M. Meklina and T. Myers  


Where Babies Come From

“In a kindergarten there was an energetic discussion on the topic of where babies come from. Several
versions were voiced. Some said that women get pregnant from food. Or that men and women, naked,
jump on each other’s backs and carry each other through rooms. Some said that men and women rub
their genitalia together. Finally, it was said that a man probably puts his sex organ inside the sex 
organ of a woman, and then he sprinkles a certain liquid, and this liquid is so nutritious that it causes
the birth of a living being in a female organism. All these versions seemed similarly dubious.”

                                         Pavel Pepperstein, “At Milk” (from the book “The Diet of an Old Man”)

From brimstone and backwardness
From idleness
From ashes
From saliva
From mold
From blotting paper
From creases on the surface
From curtain pleats in the depths of a stage
From a household bag
From a passenger plane
From the mouth (so Tanya said, but refused to explain)

On a platform of a rail car
In a haystack
In a potato field
From thoughts
From test tubes
From misconceptions
From rationally calculated choices
Because of an unbearable urge to light a cigar
Because of a wrong parking spot
Because of too much drinking
Because of modest, moderate drinking
Because of no drinking at all
Because one gave up drinking completely
Because of people’s mean tricks (try reading “women’s mean tricks”)
Because of work offices with leather couches
Because of work offices where you can get by with a wobbly chair from the 60’s (and a table, too – Tanya added but refused to elaborate)
Because somebody does not want to forget and always needs a reminder
From places where you can kiss freely in small-screen movie theatres
From places where you can kiss freely in big-screen movie theatres
On the way to work
On the way from work
From despair
From a mixture of despair and hope
From a fear of changing even one small thing
From a wish to go to Paris
From a fear of losing something
From love for the Jews
From love for the Armenians
From an unwillingness to serve in the Army
From an unwillingness to emigrate to America
From the necessity to prove to yourself (and to others) that you are an ordinary and normal man (woman)
From fear of death (Dear my love, you know, You had a father: let your son say so. Shakespeare. Sonnets.)
From an unfulfilled instinct for fatherhood
From unformed creative potential
From a desire to create, in a person with no special talents
From curiosity
From jealousy
…and sometimes kids are abandoned…



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