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1.

The hunter’s road, paved with the old cobblestone: once upon a time
it was called Baron’s Road. Now it’s Ram’s Road but where the heck are the rams?
Everything is reduced to two cadences, and the forest
is see-through.
Stern men in plaid shirts are mounting
centaurs, those crosses between a tractor and a motorcycle.
We’ll wait for the evening,
when more greenery gathers around us, and rays of light
seize us under our knees and arms, slowly
lifting us up. And that
which rustled in the dark will speak.
The old barn under the rotting shingles will turn into an embassy
of the wise men, who are cooking cheese for the child.
Weightless, saved from minor desires before the face
of the one who deserves glory eternal, we will go to sleep
amongst the sheep, and in the morning
we will start out in the direction of home.

2.

A bullet would not reach that far, but I can still see you.
You rise from behind the trees, carrying a bundle.
Serious, like a girl trusted with her baby brother
for the very first time.
You step over a stream, probably getting
water in your shoes.
And suddenly you disappear behind the two rows of trees,
behind a firewood shed.
The light sifts through
the walls of the shack, and dims, and ahead
are the old oak trees and a zone of heavy darkness, in which older children
are playing hide-and-seek, and you remain
concealed for many minutes,
and my heart is pounding and cannot
stop.

3.

There was racing around the river boulders,
and the harsh extremely transparent water, and
the trenches in the stooping forest, into which
we fell like berries into a sleeve.
And there was fear, and dancing
with Helenas and Yarynas, who smelled
of lipstick and milk, and there were lights,
and smoking fires that forecast the weather,
and the old kitchen table for table tennis.
Calling each other names, we were placing orders for the future,
until it thinned and hardened
like a tree trunk lowered into a river,
and from a nearby quiet field
someone kept passing us a ball
to drive to the imaginary goal.
And there was nothing but life, and life was beyond reach.

translated by oksana maksymchuk

the original poem

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