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Spring 1986

by Gennady Trifonov, translated from the Russian by J.M. Regan (see JWR, Vol. 4, no. 4, for Cryllic epigraph from Nikolai Gumilev)

     for Alex

I'd never really thought about it until now, how the years disappear on us, dissolving like ripples into the water, the cringing brain drowning in one vision after another. I'm 40. I've spent my time inventing nonsense so surreal it hasn't even a name, and makes noises like a cracked bell. The world around me is voiceless voiceless, and the departed faces of my lovers are absorbed into the waist-deep water the blind earth covered over. The virgin circle of my love split open like a mouth to your fingers and tongue. Now at our wordless table, in famine's abandoned kitchen, whose hand shall I eat from? -- for your touch stopped abruptly, and the circle sealed shut on blackness even the night must envy. And I've scarcely strength to invoke once more this image of your face: how under your eyes like stones no bright tears disturbed its perfect marriage of light and shade. I could hunt you down, make you bleed and hurt. To wound you would be simple as healing. And the delights of malice and spite might, like a poultice, nourish and cure me. How much I love my circle of one! -- its final quiet and isolation, its eternal pain and hatred and torture. Its blind night. And there'll be no other lover. There'll be nobody, there'll be nothing -- no iron enemy, nor flight, like a cloud's, on easy wings.