Semenovka. Translated by Lindsay Parkhowell

Guns croak like magpies in the morning. Slashed cherries welcome the hidden sun with stumps of branches. Slagheaps bathe in the fog.

Here even pyramids are black. Urns on the shoulders of Nubians. Cleopatra’s small foot drowning in camel milk.

The weapon is oblivion, deteriorating forms, concrete skeletons soaked in a rusted alloy the same as the narrow windows in the psychiatric hospital at Semyonovka.

The Russians came and the tears of insane prisoners set into shards like molten aluminum. Don’t care about the hulking sun blackening like charcoal.

Rays kiss the ruins of the Soviet buildings
like Serapis. Even the footprints left by a cavalryman’s boot are a mark of classicism. See how our twentieth century becomes a new antiquity.

Just do away with freedom, at first the pain is excruciating but then it enters the body like a knife through butter. Sail with it in a boat along
the snowy Nile, enjoy the smell of skin burning under the slavemaster’s brand.