Polina Barskova
Translated from Russian by Boris Dralyuk and David Stromberg 
about the author 

Polina Barskova
   Polina Barskova
      photo by Eric Crawford
Ariels Message

Your father lies crushed by the seas weight
He is the volume of the wave, the coral.

Your father circles round, diluted by the sea wind

His skin is bark
Acrawl with panicked ants.

The whites of his eyes prideful pearls.
The yolks of his eyes worthless pearls.
His skull is a chorale.
Everything in him knells and trembles.
Nothing within him fades,

But everything transforms
Into something strange, thick, promising.

Curious Nereids immerse themselves in this solution
So as to watch your fathers transformations,
Since nothing in him fades, but rather turns
Into you, to you, Ferdinand: your father lives!
Your father sleeps.
Your father is a red

Washed up beneath Pont Neuf.

Your father is shame.
He is the heat
of blindness that encroaches when I look at him: the membrane melts.
He is the cold of stammering that like a stinger creeps out of the mouth.
Your father still lives, but hes dozing off.
Look at the sleeper, Ferdinand.
A streamlet of saliva trickles down his chin.
That is the way a canny snake descends a cliff,
The way a fat chain spills into a skiff.

He sighs, not on the outside, somehow but within:
Hed rather trap the sound inside himself than share it with us:
Hes sleeping, Ferdinand.

Ice flickers on his curtal lip.
Breath is a very tiny thing, rounded by dreams.

Farewell to the Ghost

                                                Chorus: Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
                                                Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled,
                                                No reckning made, but sent to my account
                                                With all my imperfections on my head.

A bird appeared to me this morning
With a barbed wire in its beak.
In the immeasurable stronghold,
The beasts have stilled. I glumly spat
In the already troubled waters
My spittle swam towards the West.
O welcome news! You did not rush!
Id heard so very much about you
When overripe clusters of cherries
Were lost at the first hint of daybreak,
When fog streamed in across the sea
And down
Starch-stiffened folds.
Well, then, Ill only wash the mildew
Off my face. All will be well.
I did not sin. The reason being
My concubine had been a single
Hollow and spotless bit of cinder.
She does not smell of carrion, like any living flesh...
And with this punitive forgiveness the Lord has now assessed my choice.
O welcome news! How you are dreadful.
Theres not a bit of sanctity in you.
Im but a middling puritan.
But youre a purse riddled with holes.
Again I am a beggar. Ill be forced
To foster deserts the entire age.

The rainbow crumbles in my dream.
Light grows, just like the bosom of a goddess.


Anna went to fetch some water,
Found a young man sitting there,
His black beard shaking in the air.

It isnt that he simply sits,
Hes not really in a fit,
He laboriously tracks the sunsets blots.

Here, now, with a golden border
Like a little golden ruble
Swims a smoky apparition,
Acid-scorched on every side.

Here, enormous as a bee
The epitome of heat,
A shred of the exhausted sun,
Burned completely, inside out.

After them, hard on their heels
Black over here, green over there,
Soars a bird right out of Blok, a captain out of Gumilev.

A dark-rusty mugginess,
A crumb of hay, a swarm of midges,
Anna, out of heavy buckets, pours out water on her feet.

Anna comprehends the plot,
Gnaws a reddish strand of hair,
A reddish beam on a reddish neck,
Crawling upward like an ant.

Now, already, darkness, like
A red stream out of the mouth,
Pours from heaven on our faces.
So the bottom line is drawn.

Whats the meaning of our meetings
The river knows, as does the speech,
Were to recollect and not,
And to guard our ignorance.

Copyright:  Polina Barskova
Copyright:  translated from Russian by Boris Dralyuk and David Stromberg
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