Back to Issue Forty-Six


To Y.K.



“where Catullus rests with a sparrow and Derzhavin with a swallow”

—V. Khodasevich


“Oh-da-se-VICH?” the gatekeeper asked again,
And having checked the computer, led the way.
He whispered to himself as he counted
The rows and graves.


We brought some violets (or so we thought),
God knows what in a plastic pot
And quietly erected it
On the standard gray slab.


The winter sun was on a dimmer switch.
From this tourist’s eyes, it was improbably plain:
The cemetery like any other, the street
The same, and a gas station nearby.
It’s all fine.


Rest here in peace, and let this all pass by:
The coming flood that scientists prophesy,
Islam’s tsunami, the nation’s machinations,
The hunters of pompous exhumations.


The refugee lived and died. And now
He rests in the shade and watches
With watery eyes the acrobatics of a cat,
Which, under the new circumstances,
Is a danger
To neither sparrow nor swallow.




Ю. К.




«Где с воробьем Катулл и с ласточкой Державин…»

В. Ходасевич


«О-да-се-вич?» – переспросил привратник

и, сверившись с компьютером, повел,

чуть шевеля губами при подсчете

рядов и мест.


Мы принесли – фиалки-не фиалки –

незнамо что в пластмассовом горшке

и тихо водрузили это дело

на типовую серую плиту.


Был зимний вполнакала день.

На взгляд туриста, неправдоподобно-

обыденный: кладбище как кладбище

и улица как улица, в придачу –


Вот и хорошо.


Покойся здесь, пусть стороной пройдут

обещанный наукою потоп,

ислама вал и происки отчизны –

охотницы до пышных эксгумаций.


Жил беженец и умер. И теперь

сидит в теньке и мокрыми глазами

следит за выкрутасами кота,

который в силу новых обстоятельств

опасности уже не представляет

для воробьев и ласточек.

Sergey Gandlevsky is one of the most celebrated contemporary Russian poets. Born in 1952, Gandlevsky opted out of the Soviet system, working odd jobs and sharing poetry with a small coterie of friends in the 1970s and 1980s. His work did not appear in Russian literary journals until the late 1980s, during glasnost and perestroika. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Gandlevsky’s poetry and prose have received nearly every major Russian literary prize: the Little Booker Prize (1996), the Anti-Booker Prize (1996), the Moscow Score prize (2009), and the Poet Prize (2010). A Russian critics’ poll in the 2000s named him the country’s most important living poet. His writing—poetry, fiction, and essays—has been translated into numerous languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Georgian, Hungarian, Finnish, Polish, Lithuanian, Croatian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Chinese, and Japanese. In English, Gandlevsky’s poetry also appears in A Kindred Orphanhood: Selected Poems of Sergey Gandlevsky (Zephyr Press, 2003). Gandlevsky’s two novels also appear in English translation by Suzanne Fusso: Trepanation of the Skull (Northern Illinois University Press, 2014) and Illegible (Northern Illinois University Press, 2019). Since 1993, Gandlevsky has worked at the journal Foreign Literature. A lifelong Muscovite, Gandlevsky has relocated to the Republic of Georgia since the war in Ukraine began.

Philip Metres is the author of eleven books, including Ochre & Rust: New Selected Poems of Sergey Gandlevsky (2023), Shrapnel Maps (2020), The Sound of Listening: Poetry as Refuge and Resistance (2018), Pictures at an Exhibition (2016), and Sand Opera (2015). His work has garnered the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lannan Fellowship, two NEAs, seven Ohio Arts Council Grants, the Hunt Prize, the Adrienne Rich Award, three Arab American Book Awards, the Lyric Poetry Prize, and the Cleveland Arts Prize. He is professor of English and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at John Carroll University, and Core Faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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