translated from the Russian by Sibelan Forrester
Like a schoolboy who, armed with a flashlight
under a woolen blanket,
sinks into some kind of illicit reading
during a nocturnal vigil,
like a schoolboy who probes his palate with his tongue,
wishing to awaken the possible tonsillitis,
I imagine the day when I’ll vanish from the world,
and I mix black bread with milk.
The cold wind shapes the water
into a prickly crust on the pale sidewalk,
amber and lead are mixed in the gleaming
water, and above it all are hanging gardens
of stone flowers and the windows’ blackness,
the electric vigil of shop windows.
And the pale light, like a sketch of future ruins,
drags narrow columns out of blackness,
and the edge of the wall, deceptively prickly,
and all that seems worthy of the right
to exist henceforth, after the rust and aphid,
which have come to take the place of electricity,
like naked ivy stretching over the wall
in the direction of the world.
Marianna Geide is a poet and prose writer. Born in 1980, she graduated from the Russian State University of the Humanities (RGGU) as a specialist in the life and work of Thomas Aquinas. She is the author of two books of poetry, Vremia opyleniia veshchei (2005) and Slizni Garroty (2006), and has been awarded several poetry prizes. “Like a schoolboy . . .” will appear this fall in New Russian Poetry, an anthology to be published by Dalkey Archive Press as part of a bilingual project of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Sibelan Forrester has published numerous translations of poetry and prose from Croatian, Russian, and Serbian. In her day job she teaches Russian language and literature at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. (4/2007)