Wednesday, July 26, 2017


The Hand Organ Man

Mommy bathed her girl,

Daddy dried her off,

Grandpa hurried with

a nightie for her,

Grandma smoothed the sheets,

brother fluffed the pad,

Mommy laid her down,

Grandpa tucked her in.

[ Pain ]

Pain, you are the sole proof

that my body exists.

You have made your point;

now cease. But I

will never believe

the body is all

there is to me.

[ Crossing ]

Crossing a meadow of daisies,

pushing the pram along

a jolty path (a tiller

behind the plow),

singing peasant-style,

I pluck a daisy: Look!

From the pram a pair

of wide-open eyes

stare back at me.

[ ever ]

ever so gently

the cradle rocks

a bumblebee naps

inside a rosebud

in a puddle the rain

fell asleep like a drunk

where is she loafing

that daughter of ours

[ Making ]

Making love as much as we wish,

skinny-dippy whenever we feel . . .

How is life, naked kids?

Life teems in every cell!

All alone, as in an Eden,

no laws, as in dreams . . .

I spread my skirt on the grass:

life of mine, come to me.

[ I am ]

I am

a nail

being driven in

while I try

to keep



the carpenter

will get tired

or the hammer

will break

or the board

will crack and I

will roll

into a cozy nook

and will find you there

my love

my love

[ Remember ]

Remember me the way I am

this very instant: brusque and absent,

with a word beating against my cheek

like a butterfly caught in a curtain.

[ at twenty ]

at twenty

to fuck

at thirty

to love

what will I do at forty?

will look lively

will work

will be prod:

see, straight As!

will hope

to be pardoned

at fifty

[ I got ]

tanned all over

on a nameless island:

not a spot omitted,

not a single defect,

I am all like chocolate,

of fresh-brewed tea

from Sri Lanka, but

for one pale streak

under the wedding band.

[ lots ]

lots of knives

but only one cuts

lots of pens

but only one writes

lots of men

but I love only you

maybe at last you will

sharpen the knives?


Vera Pavlova
Album for the Young (and Old)
Knopf 2017
translated from the Russian by Steven Seymour