There’s nothing there yet. Green night,
each silence has its own measure.
Knowing how many centuries it took
for the first things to appear,
he speaks her name.

Opening a window into the night,
he anxiously listens for any movement,
expecting something — anything,
but the heavy canvas of nothingness
gently falls into his hands.

From now on everything that happens to them —
ocean currents, icebergs in dead seas,
the daily cycles of the atmosphere,
songs of sperm whales, screams of phantoms,
the awakening of scents and colors,

grass roots and tree leaves,
lake ice and bird whistles,
iron ore and coal’s tired tremors,
the whispers and roars of obedient animals,
the yearnings of vibrant trading towns,

fires that burn ships,
death on dark silk banners,
dying stars hanging high in the firmament,
the silent dead in the summer ground,
blood, like lava in the fallow ridges of veins:

everything that was meant to come will come,
everything that once was will disappear,
like taxes owed for worlds revealed to them,
for a voice with hints of darkness,
for warmth liberated with each new breath.

Knowing everything that awaits them,
he still speaks her name,
woven out of consonants and bitter vowels,
until love’s green current,
a cool shadow of tenderness,
carries him away.

© Serhiy Zhadan

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