Transitions №3

Author: Anna Orlitskaya

Translated by Ekaterina Zadirko

* * *

I will write your name for the first time
On a very ordinary occasion
‘Sign me up’
‘Sign for me’
‘Become me for a second’
Put my name after yours
And this is how we will be together
In the same handwriting
On the same paper
Set in stone, not to be rubbed off
From the white sheet
That could have become
A draft of a poem
A delivery note
An academic record
But instead
It became

* * *

What will become my poem
When you are no more
Apple blossoms will pour down like snow
On the golden grass
And fade to transparency
In the rain

Like apple blossom, my words will whiten
The sounds will fade away
In the moist air
Fragrance will dissipate

Who will witness the new green
That will grow
from my seeds
Who will cover the book pages
From sprinkle

What will the time become
For me?


The birthday of the word NO!!!!
And nobody knows
When the next one will be

* * *

I will keep you cold, my narcissus
I know how much you like ice
Thin and sharp
Till the first thawed patch
Till the first drop

The water is cold in the river, narcissus
Yet cold blood won’t help
This fish flapping its tail
On carmine snow

And soon your time will come, narcissus
Snowflakes will pour through the frosty air into your void
Palms of cold will close up over your head, my narcissus
And you will bloom


Last colourful towels are vanishing from the beach.
An elderly Central European-looking couple
Might linger tonight over dinner at a restaurant:
They will have eaten the fish, with some wine left
And plenty of time to think and to talk.
They are in this town
For the first time in thirty years
Of their life together.
Maybe they will come back.
They will tell their children:
That’s our hotel, our beach, our restaurant.
The fish is fine there.
You should go.
If need be, we’ll tell you all about it.

But now they only have
Some wine and this summer night.

Everyone’s gone from the beach.
Some child has forgotten
A colourful bucket.

* * *

One side of a meadow
Is powdered with snow
The other, with silky larch needles
You take a step
From October right into August