Feature > Poetry
Alex Cigale

Alex Cigale

Alex Cigale's poems have appeared in Colorado, Green Mountains, North American, Tampa, Tar River Poetry and The Literary Reviews, and onine in Asymptote, Drunken Boat, and McSweeney's. His translations from the Russian can be found in Ancora Imparo, Cimarron Review, Literary Imagination, Modern Poetry in Translation, PEN America, Plume, Two Lines, The Manhattan, St. Petersburg, and Washington Square Reviews. He edited the online feature on Contemporary Writing from Russia and the Ukraine in Mad Hatters’ Review 13 and the world literature in Qarrtsiluni's translation issue.
Dana Golin

Dana Golin

Dana Golin was born in Riga, Latvia. Her poems in Russian and translations into English have appeared in Novy Zhurnal, Big Bridge, Ice Floe (U. of Alaska) and EM-review. She has a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology and had worked in neuro-rehabilitation in New York City for the past 15 years.

Hide-and-Seek On A Train (English Translation)

The pouring rain rustles like gravel in skies.
The sugary dunes scatter and sift their sands.
The black handkerchief hurts covering my eyes,
squeezing my temple more than the white scarf.

Children, they are more shrewd than Mohicans.
But time shuffles past. The exhausted old men,
doling out breaths, blow into empty cups. In
the cups one can hear an unearthly river's hum.

The antediluvian sea shell mouths a sigh.
History reclines on the rug, a stranger's wife,
stops thrashing like a fish battering the ice.
She is again her husband's, as in olden times.

With my lips I pick up nuts from someone's palm;
as sweet as berries, scooped out of their shells.
Suddenly one of my wet-nurses breaks her heel.
All the people around me are deaf and blind.

They are my kin and I pity my kin when, one
after another, nations descend into their graves.
Only he who succeeds in falling asleep in shade
will, in rapture, live to see the sun again.

The railroad bed ascends a volcano's cone
along its spiral way, swirling the smoke.
The conductor hangs his head on his chest.
He has become a saint.


By Vadim Mesyats
Translated from Russian by Alex Cigale & Dana Golin

Жмурки в поезде (Original Russian)

Ливень шуршит гравием в небесах,
дюны сахарный пересыпают песок.
Чёрный платок, затянутый на глазах
больней, чем белый платок,
                   сжимает висок.

Дети — они коварнее могикан.
Но время проходит. Усталые старики
дуют, согласно ранжиру, в пустой стакан.
И в стакане слышится гул неземной реки.

Доисторическая раковина поёт.
История, как чужая жена, на ковре лежит.
Она больше не бьётся рыбой об лёд.
И, как прежде, мужу принадлежит.

Я беру губами орехи из чьих-то рук,
они сладки как ягоды, без скорлупы.
Вдруг одна из кормилиц ломает каблук.
Люди вокруг меня — слепы.

Они мне родня, мне жалко моей родни,
когда сходит в гроб один и другой народ.
Лишь тот, кому удалось задремать в тени,
с восторгом увидит восход.

На вершину вулкана железнодорожный путь
взбирается по спирали, мешая дым.
Кондуктор главу свою уронил на грудь.
И стал святым.
Vadim Mesyats

Vadim Mesyats

Vadim Mesyats (b. 1964) studied physics at Tomsk State University. In 1993 he emigrated to the USA, and worked for Stevens College in New Jersey as a coordinator of the Russian/American cultural program. Original of the poem published here first appeared in Novii Mir. Guest in the Homeland (Talisman House, 1997) is his early Selected in English. He was short-listed for the Russian Booker Prize in 2002 and is the publisher of Russian Gulliver press.

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