Transitions №3

Author: Vladimir Pryakhin

Translated by Nina Kossman


— why do I live like a pig and not like a bird?
The pig asked itself
and immediately it felt its wings grow

its face flattened, its nose grew long and turned into a beak
and its right eye began to see only what was on the right
and its left eye — only what was on the left
and no matter how it turned its head
it couldn’t see the same thing with two eyes
then its right eye began to mourn the left eye
and the left eye — to mourn the right eye
it didn’t know yet
that this two-way seeing
was an inherent quality of birds!


a veterinarian who specializes in cows’ fifth legs
lives only on this farm
if something happens to the fifth leg of a cow,
it’s better to contact him immediately
no one else can help
and it doesn’t matter
whether or not the cow needs a fifth leg

and it’s all because
in the past he was a researcher of the nonreal
everyone else studied the real
while he got up at dawn
washed his face
and immediately after breakfast
began to study things that didn’t exist
he achieved considerable success in this
thanks to his labors, mankind has learned
how much was missing in the world

while it could all have been!


your days are not croaked, said the frog,
therefore you can’t live and grow amphibiously
you must croak your days or ask someone
I know someone, she can help you
but I myself can’t — I am to be eaten by a heron!
this was croaked to me in a dream …


falling asleep
sometimes the three-eyed one forgets to close her third eye
and then in the morning she thinks:
— What if I jinxed myself?
— what if not my?
— what if not self?

in REM sleep
three-eyed ones dream at first of what they have seen with their two eyes,
later they dream of
what their third eye has seen,
and then they see an F in their son’s report card
and a rag they forgot to remove from the oven
and an iron not turned off since 1968


Banin tried to keep up with the times
until he discovered
that time had no legs
but it had something in between
the sole of a cochlea
and the mouth of a giant starfish
that swallowed everyone

when he was a teen
after learning he would get a beating
Banin usually ran away —
not because he was afraid —
but because he was ashamed of his face
not resembling a mug