It’s all up to us.

You touch the atmosphere and disturb the equilibrium.
Everything we’ve lost, everything we’ve found,
all the air that passed through our windpipes —
what sense does it all make without our pain and disappointments?
What value does it have without our joy?

After all, it’s all about your fingers.
You touch her clothes and know nothing
can be taken back, a name spoken once
changes the voice, coils around the roots of words,
so you struggle from now on with dead languages,
as you attempt to use them
to communicate with the living.

You touch her things and understand: behind each word,
behind each deed stands the impossibility of return.
Courage and sorrow push us forward —
love is irreversible, and we can’t decipher most
dark prophesies and visions.
What happens to us is only what we wanted,
or only what we feared. The question is
what will win — desire or fear.

The night will ring with music in the web
of our fingers, the room will fill with light
from the dictionaries we’ve brought.
After all, everything depends on our ability
to speak the dead language of tenderness.

Light is shaped by darkness,
and it’s all up to us.

© Serhiy Zhadan

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