by Serhiy Zhadan, 2002

The green river water
slows in warm bends
fish zeppelins
scatter the plankton
and tired bird catchers
attempt to catch
every word.

Hold on to
the brightly colored rags and scotch tape
that bind the slashed wrists
of these heroic times.
One day you will turn off this radio,
you’ll get used to her,
to her breathing
and, dressed in your T-shirt,
she’ll bring you water in the middle of the night.

On the terrace the left-over cups of tea
are filling up with rain water
and cigarette butts,
you and I share a cold
you and I share long conversations --
you don’t notice the morning rain
you go to sleep late
and you wake up late
I write poems about how I love
this woman, and I invent
newer and newer words
to avoid
telling her.

translated from the Ukrainian by Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps

zhad4.doc 1/2/06

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