Transitions №3

Author: Elena Katsyuba

Translated by Dmitri Manin


If you peel the orange of the letter O,
shuffle the rest and put it back together,
you get “anger”
Who’d have thought!

On the other hand, if you shoot oranges from cannons…

It’s always that way with letters
It doesn’t surprise anybody
that the word “tender” contains «rend».
In the word “happiness” there’s a spine,
but either way you should expect “snipe”,
and “heavenly” is fraught with a hyena

That’s the dialectics of the positive

But harm, vice, lie are absolute
Can’t squeeze anything good out of them


In the tangle of briars and elder trees
the ruins of an abandoned factory
gate hanging askew
rails cut off the ties
faded letters: DEAD EN_ CLOSED
the world is stunned: sensation!
incontrovertible evidence found
how incredibly inhumane was the ancient civilization
Historians have proven
that in the bygone twentieth century
at the end of the calendar year
all the death row inmates of the world were put on a train
and buried alive before the main temple
as a sacrifice to the netherworld god Bottom Lion
also known by the digrammaton BL pronounced “BaaL”
Ancient language scholars
mumble something about the missing glyphs
but nobody listens to them
A massive archeological expedition is organized
and while its funding is being sorted out
grave robbers sell rusty nuts and bolts
on the black market and assure collectors
that on the eve of natural disasters in the thick of night
one can hear from under the ground
mournful chants and the sepulchral clickety-clack of wheels.


Islands are clouds reflected in the sea
Clouds are islands projected into the sky

Wind blows islands across the world

Greenland spills snow over Ceylon
Madagascar rains orchids
over Faroe Islands