Translated by Elina Alter


* * *

That way lies

a valley, where the snow

sings, turning to roses.


I brought my hands to my eyes, to see through darkness of palms

behind the foam-white singing

a house where the dead abide, like the living.






on the second floor of the neighbors’ summer house,

where, we believed, there were deserts and seas,—

in reality are poor and unattractive rooms

under a gray sky; it’s raining in them—

tears drop from the ceiling,

and we, little prisoners, uselessly search

for the stairs to the attic beneath the roof,

where, like old pillows, lie the rainclouds.




neither sunlight nor darkness: a strange light in the heart and green summer

summer of flight and glass, but such strange, final light,

as though everyone died in one morning, while picking lilies of the valley

and celebrating Ivanov Day, when water

joined with fire; the water spirit celebrated his birthday, lighted

wreaths floated on the river waves, the witch on her stolen horse

galloped to Bald Mountain, her hair streaming, trees crossed

from place to place, flowers gave off a scent under the pillow, I was

fire within a dream and grass in dew, a warm stove during the thunderstorm,

I saw all there is in the earth: treasures, coffins, the molten mantle

underneath which is the cannonball-core, and the atoms of dear bodies

I recognized in the veins of leaves and grasses, in transparent sparks

fluttering through the air, in the whisper of morning, as

the donkey’s head grew visible, and someone beloved and forgotten

walked to me beneath the river.




valley of wells

in a wet meadow

earthen wells

like windows into earth

formed by themselves

birds walk between them

nobody drinks from the wells

the wheel doesn’t creak

wells in earth

who has come here and why?

what should I do in the valley of wells?

different water in each of them

different innermostness

will I wander long or little

in the valley of wells

different abyss in each of them

different secret, joy, and sorrow

so many wells

opened in the earth

like the discovery

of miraculous ikons in the trunks of trees

earth’s eyes open

in her protected waters

but the air—is also water

and earth—underwater

sky, fields, and villages

I caught the bus

or maybe my mother did

and went beneath the water…

there, underwater—

valley of wells



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