A Yawn of a Butterfly, a Handful of Confetti
by Dmitry Blizniuk
The flying snow outside the window –
huge flakes, a slanted white fringe –
made the room look like a firm soap bubble,
or a capsule of a space ship.
We, astronauts of love,
were comfortably settled in it,
and the winter silence –
the burlap wrapping Hannibal’s elephants
crossing the Alps of life –
made us confident,
while your cream-white, sleepy waterfall of curtains,
gave us comfort.
In such winter evenings, non-Euclidean,
warped by the snowfall,
you can feel your roots.
Like a pine, you let them touch
the eerie depth of millenniums,
go deeper and deeper, like black multiarmed lightning.
How big is the civilization? –
just a yawn of a butterfly,
a handful of confetti
thrown on a piece of raw meat…
Do you remember the evening BI (before the Internet),
when electricity was cut in the whole building,
and we suddenly became a thousand years older,
got filled with animal wisdom and darkness,
but were still lit by an inner light,
Like blind people who live by touch, by poking fingers,
like sneaking wart hogs,
we lit candles, searched for books,
had mysterious conversations, listening to the rustles, whispers,
drops of sound, which touched the surface of the lake of silence,
to the flinching fridge,
to the thump of the doors opening and closing in the stairwell,
to flickering ribbons of the voices between the concrete walls,
or to the murmur of our own circulatory systems,
as if we were in a womb.
Do you remember, fifteen years ago,
the chandelier suddenly went off,
as if a royal golden octopus
had died of a heart attack?
The tape-recorder stopped working.
Paganini’s melody came to a sudden end,
as if the violinist hand had been chopped off.
The whitened fingers were still clenching the bow tight,
but the music grew out of itself and played on and on –
in our minds, in the silence.
Who are we?
shipwrecked, on the islands of souls,
we don’t venture into the depth of the jungle.
We stay put on the beach where we can be rescued (do you believe it?)
and where there are no leopards.
We swim, fish, and sunbathe.
We argue and suffer from loneliness,
but we never exactly know what’s hidden behind our backs,
how many ways can lead to other worlds.
Sometimes the starry hunger
pushes us to a secret door,
however no one but impostors has the key to it.
For we and only we are the keys to all doors,
to all holes in time and space.
(translated by Sergey Gerasimov from Russian)
Dmitry Blizniuk is an author from Ukraine. His most recent poems have appeared in Poet Lore, The Pinch, Salamander, Willow Springs, Grub Street, Magma Poetry and many others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is also the author of The Red Fоrest (Fowlpox Press, 2018). He lives in Kharkov, Ukraine. Member of PEN America.
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