Iya Kiva

                         from “The People of Donbas

each of these ruins had an address

here lay the white bow of a holiday photo

something was there too. maybe. my life

dragged the rags of emptiness from neighborhood to neighborhood

the houses hung in the air like stripped wallpaper

as we sipped from a sieve the last drops of what happened

dust occupied the space without a fight

we gathered it from dreams like the petals of dead flowers

and fire knocked memory’s motley carpet from our hands

language shed its feathers like a wounded dove

and naked now i can’t be with people

all that’s left is to sketch beasts on the margins of silence

and play myself every day like a record

oh what a beautiful morning the occupation’s bright sunday

Translated by Amelia Glaser and Yuliya Ilchuk.

Amelia Glaser is Professor of Literature at UC San Diego. She is the author of Jews and Ukrainians in Russia’s Literary Borderlands and Songs in Dark Times: Yiddish Poetry of Struggle from Scottsboro to Palestine, and the editor of Stories of Khmelnytsky: Competing Literary Legacies of the 1648 Ukrainian Cossack Uprising and, with Steven Lee, Comintern Aesthetics. She translates from Ukrainian, Russian, and Yiddish.

Yuliya Ilchuk is Associate Professor of Slavic Literature and Culture at Stanford. She is the author of Nikolai Gogol’s Hybrid Performance and The Vanished: Memory, Temporality, Identity in Post-Euromaidan Ukraine, as well as several poetry translations. She edited and translated the anthology Ukrainian Literary Modernism: A Critical Reader.

Iya Kiva is a Ukrainian poet and translator. She is the author of the poetry collections Farther from Heaven, The First Page of Winter, and Laughter of an Extinguished Fire and a book of interviews with Belarusian writers, We Will Awaken as Others.
Originally published:
February 21, 2024


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