Dmitry Blizniuk

Read in landscape mode!

Forgets about the snakes

Sergey Gerasimov / Translated from Russian

Twilight conceals the defects of our souls:
evening simmers in the kitchen
like a pot of cherry varnish
for mending crippled violins.
Turn down the lights and simply watch
as the world dilates
like a pupil.
A green lampshade,
an eerily lit aquarium,
the lilac semi-darkness – it’s all we need
to let the soul transcend the body,
to make the words step with confidence,
like Mowgli who saw an evening town
for the first time in his life.
Sometimes silence is a form of sound,
sometimes darkness is a form of light,
and our silence coils around the unsaid words;
we are two twilight planets.
Embracing you in the dusk, I wash my name off,
throw off all the price tags, all the angular formulas.
There are too many traps for an intelligent beast,
too many glass kennels inside.
When the night extinguishes the light of consciousness
in the greenish-bronze candelabra of bodies,
for a few minutes, we become those who
that God wanted us to be –
free islands without clear-cut shores
hovering in the double twilight of the sky and the sea,
as free as an invisible man in the rain.
This feeling accumulated for centuries,
when we lay in caves on lice-ridden animal hides,
and a toothed sheen of fire warmed us,
replete, sleepy,
ashes peppering our bodies,
as silence bloomed on the stalks of breath –
flowers of an orange dark.
This is the power of shadows and whisper,
when you can hear music inside veins and cartilage,
inside kisses and face bones;
these are cherries on the meat cake of a predator,
and our embrace is a sign of something bigger than
just the instinct for reproduction
or pleasure.

We’re like a mongoose that listens to a flute melody
leaking from a half-open window
and, for a moment,
forgets about the snakes.

About the Author

Dmitry Blizniuk’s most recent poems have appeared in Rattle, The Nation, Prairie Schooner, The London Magazine, Guernica, Denver Quarterly, Pleiades, and many others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is also the author of The Red FΠΎrest (Fowlpox Press, 2018). His poems have been awarded RHINO 2022 Translation Prize. He lives in Kharkov, Ukraine.