Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Manuscript Found by Natasha Rostova
During the Fire of Moscow

I will try to live on earth without you.

I will try to live on earth without you.

I will become any object,

I don't care what —

I will be this speeding train.

This smoke

Or a beautiful gay man laughing in the front seat.

The human body is without defense.

It's a piece of firewood.

Ocean water hits it.

Lenin puts it on his official shoulder.

And therefore, in order not to suffer, a human spirit


Inside the water and inside the wood and inside

     the shoulder of a great dictator.

But I will not be water. I will not be a fire.

I will be an eyelash.

A sponge washing the hairs of your neck;

Or a verb, an adjective

I will become. Such a word

Slightly lights your forehead.

What happened? Nothing.

Something visited? Nothing.

What was there you cannot whisper.

No smoke without fire, they whisper.

I will be a handful of smoke

Over this, lost, Moscow.

I will console any man,

I will sleep with any man,

Beneath the army's traveling horse carriages.

     — translated by Ilya Kaminsky


This Lamentable City
poems by Polina Barskova
Tupelo Press 2010