Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 115 in 2008.
Translated by Ilya Bernstein
A seaside town and the smell of iodine on the beach.
A town square, just like in Sicily, and dancing.
The sophisticated son of a common family
Is aiming for the position of Rosencrantz.
He has decided to serve Claudius and he watches
The prince of the blood closely from behind the fountain.
The whole world is a prison, and in the world’s courtyard
A certain John plays the piano.
Darkness is coming and the end approaches.
Ophelia screams in the empty barracks
And Hamlet walks around, wrapped in a white bandage
So that the ghost might recognize him in the darkness.
The Tower of Babel fell on Wednesday.
Everything is buried under the rubble.
Speechless men celebrate their triumph.
Griboedov’s remains return to Nina
Chavchavadze. There is much grief to come.
They will build time on an optical illusion.
I am tired, you are tired, we are tired — exhaustion
Has become our space, and our sense, and our order.
Bricks are red-skinned, but life is black.
The completed world begins at the window.
We write and we talk, but who can remember
A style as high as a spire, its golden endpoint?