From Poetry Diary:

Transitions №3

Author: Anna Golubkova

Translated by the author with the help of Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya

May the 18th

– Excuse me but I don’t want to read about myself
said a middle aged woman
at the end of discussion
about Russian and Polish women’s literature
– I am not interested in all this:
giving birth, maternal care
endless housekeeping
I just want to get away
you know, get away from this
from my everyday life
to read about something completely different
I am not interested in all this
I know it all too well

she was speaking after the long speech
of some elderly man
who was explaining to us
that a good text is just a good text
and it doesn’t matter
what gender was its author
– give me the names
of ingenious women
he told us triumphantly
– where are they, these women
he went on listing the names
of famous poets and prose writers
asking us to name the women
of the same significance and talent
then after him she started her speech
this experienced hardworking not so young woman
she said that in fact she is not interested
in her own life
and it is of not much value for her
she said she wanted something different
at least to read about something different
not about pampers
not about porridge
not about noses
that constantly need wiping
not about her husband’s shirts
with perfectly ironed sleeves
(do you know that
ironing of these sleeves
is a very special skill)

it was a very typical speech
these words could be said
by any woman of her generation
and we were listening to them with impatience
because we knew many words
which could be used to answer
this typical testimony
of the centuries of oppression
but we should have said nothing
because her words were
the only possible response
to the previous male speaker
(just wondering,
when and where could a woman
write something genius
maybe sitting in the toilet
behind a locked door
that children knock and knock and knock on
for mother’s attention)

and to the entire patriarchal culture as a whole
because this woman didn’t want
to read about her life
she didn’t like her life
she tried to get away
from her life
if only in her dreams
if only in books
written by male writers
or female ones from the male
point of view