Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2019  Vol. 18 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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translation from Russian by Boris Kokotov

It’s quiet here—except for a squeaking stroller

It’s quiet here—except for a squeaking stroller.
A courtyard, a couple of trees and benches.
The air is turning pale as though the colors
are leaving the sky and the facades of buildings.
From all sides the shadows are emerging—
flittering, dancing  . . . “Do you see it? Crazy!
These butterflies,” he says, “came so early,
never before arrived at this time, never ever.”
Wait for an answer. As in the highlands,
utterances emerge hollow and unclear
to an occasional passerby, to a stranger,
yet to locals they seem to be full of meaning.
As in a stutterer’s speech the pauses are too lengthy
and the syllables have a slightly distorted angle.
Those who are not totally intimidated
can’t be deceived by swank and feigned bravado.
It takes a lot of efforts to bring together
to this courtyard—which is truly a wasteland—
those who will become its permanent fixture,
first as a real guide and, later on, as an ethereal.  

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