My soul is gray like foam in a saucepan.
I pick up scattered socks, tights,
wish goodnight to my younger son,
check if the door is locked
to prevent the warty beast of moonlight
from finding our souls,
which remain unprotected till morning.
Now nothing can stop us from
romping on pink horses of dream
in rainbow marshes, but I still linger
like a Siberian tiger on an ice rink.
I cling to a book before going to sleep.
I put it down – the seconds of life melt
like sweet snow on the lips,
And I have already nearly melted.
But a sudden thought
yanks me out of the somnolent landscape.
A wild recollection
breaks into my mind like a burglar with a gun.
A small town, a nasty autumn, a bus, fields of stubble –
sutures are open,
but the threads are still there –
someone has removed the golden fetus of the sky.
She cried silently, hiding her face
in her wet hands, Medusa in a kerchief,
ashamed of her own withering eyes,
changing everything around not into stone,
but into a pulsing ulcer, into a diamond of shame.
The salty taste of tears.
Suffering is like a woman inside a marble block.
Knock-knock – she can’t sleep in there.
Where are you from?
Why did you come to me at this time of night?
I’m not a sculptor, and I’m not a vandal.
Another fragment of memory has attached itself to the first one:
a boy is alone at home late at night.
A chamber pot at the window. Heavy curtains.
Dim, sifted light of street lamps –
they look like black giraffes, and they are his best friends.
The dulcimer of loneliness whines slowly.
With such a sound, interns pull out teeth in a morgue. . .
But the waltzing swamps of sleep approach,
and the Creator drops pencils from His hands.
I hear a slight snoring, a rhythmic growl of the fridge.
A deep sigh in the heating pipes quickly fades,
and a green warty paw of the moon beast
gets out softly from behind the curtain…
– Dmitry Blizniuk
translated by Sergey Gerasimov from Russian