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This is the love of the old folks, who smooth each other’s secret wrinkles.
Don’t ask me, how old I am,
and don’t say, young enough.
I slip out of bed when it is still dark in the room.
Lust makes me suffocate under these burning covers.

An orange seed shares a pot with a Christmas cactus.
Once I hoped for a shoot but have long since forgotten about it.
Never mind age – it is exhaustion that’s getting old.
Do not peek into the mirror.
Do not undress me.

This I fear whenever I inhale: that I will suddenly fall apart.
I have preserved a lock of your hair in my collection of pressed flowers.
You have raised me from the dust.
Now you must carry me.

This is the love of the old folks, halfway to the cemetery.
Don’t ask me my age. All the same – this is the end.
I open the window.
I call out: Catch!
A black wrinkled heart splatters across the pavement.

translated by oksana maksymchuk

the original poem