These poems first appeared in Anna Glazova’s collection For the Shrew, which won the oldest independent literature award in Russia, the Andrey Bely Prize, in 2013. They have been translated from Russian by Alex Niemi.
Almost to the Other Side
he should’ve known,
who was pulled
to an empty point in the opaque glass.
a branch is smacking the roof somewhere in back.
he’s the one not looking but seeing the funneling of vision.
what now? get up if you can you have what you need.
don’t if you can’t feel the gnawing. someone is carried, another earns a limp,
one’s work reflects the memory of everything standing still.
(thin refugees seen
on an eternal ascent.
neither a bottle of water nor the right train awaits you.)
astride your own two legs on a hill;
another in dirty diapers by now
never learned enough
about the consequences of walking.
for Polina Barskova
in a space
formed by hungry dough
like a red house;
they gave us
“Who are we?
Here to serve! Here to serve!”
a dark, damp impression
above the tremor above the joining
hands of a crossroads.
the rivers from before: here,
to dive to the bottom and there
with a rustle.
(we were carried
by no more water
than a breath frozen in air
when you exhale,
yes, I’m all there, I want to spin
a rope, a hammock of this spider silk,
and lower, descend.)
behind you, the hands turned
a stream brought us here,
someone didn’t see
of a full life
pear tree trunks dotted by yellow shadows,
dry roses and stalwart briar,
over the brook, they just barely hold on
to what should have been solid,
just barely held by singing, not wading birds —
as viscous water reaches
for their beaks and shining eyes — you won’t hold out.
joy. I won’t crumple in hand,
won’t peek into the snow-covered bud,
when flowers begin sharing their plucked rays of light with me,
I will stare so long into the sun, that everything else falls into shade.
strange walls rise,
maybe a conversation heard from the other side, and in the wind
my heart strikes like a clock.
woven from leftover string — something
worthless but whole. damp
boards, fine lacquer, a craft alone
is passed down, but a snow-bound sound is not for hearing.
the seen whirls,
the crude tune weighs heavy,
like depths spring from a well,
but it shines.
— no right to a voice or mouth,
lock, seal the lack of clarity
of what obviously happens nearby.