by Ihor Rymaruk
translated from the Ukrainian by Larissa M. L. Zaleska Onyshkevych
Keep talking, keep talking.
You’ve managed to utter just one word —
while hundreds of words keep disappearing,
keep getting lost forever, with no return,
the eyes needlessly
leap over the cemetery gate.
Why do you keep silent?
Perhaps for years you’ve shuddered
at every knock on the door?
Or, perhaps, like a movie camera,
glory closes in on you now—
for that one word?
And so—to ennoble the film,
you’re scrubbing away everything else from your memory,
like blood from the floor.
Is this not why your spirit
is so silent and stubborn?
Just like the wax figure of Karmeluk*
standing in a refurbished museum tower—
holding a sign: “Do not touch.”
* Ustym Karmeluk (1787–1835) was a Ukrainian rebel leader who fought against social
and national injustice. A wax figure of him is at the Kamianets-Podilsk fortress.
Ihor Rymaruk is a young Ukrainian poet and an editor at the literary journal Dnipro. (1990)
Larissa M. L. Onyshkevych is Literary Editor of Sucasnist. She works at the Princeton Research Forum. She has translated the poetry of Vasyl Stus and Serhiy (Sergo) Paradjanov. (1990)