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No. 8-9

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Regina Derieva 

Translated from the Russian by Ilya Bernstein 

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Here

1

White bone winter.
Black bone bushes.
Yellow bone prison,
empty lot, windows.
Better to go insane,
to fall in the field, like troops,
than to choose among
those twelve Caesars, months.
Out on the empty lot
January all year long.
No words or songs are enough
when beasts are what we lack
because the beast of God
is out on the empty lot
or out of his mind.
Bushes bone white.
Winter bone black.
 

2

Here is here, and the light
of here has the color
of sewage and clay,
of ice and the trout
frozen into the ice,
of nails, of the claws
of predators and men,
of cigarette butts, newspapers, leaves,
of scraps, houses, coins
that no teeth can bite...
Here is here, and the corpse
in yellow linen lies
upon a sheet.

1984
 

* * *

Snow flakes like plaster from the celestial
firmament, worked over by Giotto.
And heartbeats are so resonant with foreboding
as if space were not something, but someone.

As if it were waving its handkerchief and other belongings
through the battlements and the bars on the windows.
The snow falls, longer and longer, shorter and shorter,
and imprecision conquers the pupil.

Light, not snow, falls from the heavens
it stings and it flows, pouring and streaming.
As if the time of the Advent had been announced
while stale cinnamon cakes were being served.
 
 

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