And then she says:
I know how this will end —
it will end with everything finally ending.
I will suffer, you will keep catching more and more of the dead,
releasing the ones you caught before.

But I’m telling her:
No one will suffer.
No one will ever suffer again.
Why does poetry even exist?
Why do canals and shafts open up into the air?

Why do we fill the emptiness
with poetry and holiday carols, why do we escape?
Any decent poet can use words to stop
the bleeding.

And then she asks:
Why do these decent poets behave like children?
Why do they live like aliens and die like criminals?
At the very least why don’t they stop
what they can stop?

I tell her: because it's hard to live with other bodies,
because the saints have their own incomprehensible plans about language,
there no decent ones left,
just thieves and charlatans.

Soothing animals and children’s pain away with words,
catching birds’ feathers stuck between the branches,
they just live,
choosing between death and unemployment.

So everything will end by starting again at the beginning,
falling into the throat and resting on the retina,
filling us with love and oblivion,
at the onset,
setting off.

© Serhiy Zhadan

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