The words that explain everything
are always simple.
You’re just another voice in her life:
maybe the sharpest, maybe the most meaningful.
Maybe she treats that voice just like her own.
Maybe she can’t tell it apart from any other voice.
What’s even holding you two together.

What holds you together besides the fear
of losing each other?
Holding together the torn fabric
of epiphanies, reincarnations, and delirium?
What holds
the weightless apparatus in the air?
Whose wind touches
each of your losses?
Whose flight is weightless?
Whose drifting is feckless?

Things people are prepared to die for
have to do with life itself,
have to do with weightlessness,
have to do with the bulwarks,
have to do with faith,
They have to do with faith first and foremost,
All your hesitations,
all your vacillations,
all your ways to salvation have to do with faith.

Life will demand elation anyway
the Lord forgot it long ago —
he has enough to worry about
and he doesn’t have enough luck.
No sense fearing death and emptiness.
God sees the same things you see.
He just remembers all things seen.

You can try proving something to him,
say that it’s really all your fault,
who knows what for.
God hides in the vast.
God is the dark.
I saw him. I told him that he didn’t exist.
He even agreed but that doesn’t make me feel any better.

Sing, Mary, sing, don’t ask awkward questions.
Death doesn’t change its habits and preferences.
Death exchanges tickets and roadmaps.
For some reason I’m not scared
on this Judgment Day.
Afterlife in a broken country on bread and water
who can pass judgment upon me and
what can frighten me?

Sing, harpooners, sinking far out at sea,
sing, exiles, that you do not care,
that exile didn’t strip you of your faith.
Faith is what keeps you in the saddle
when you only have the faintest chance,
nobody wants anything from you,
not even your commanders.

Heather and black grass will grow.
Our rights will always be with you,
acknowledgements at the end, dedications on the first page.
Her voices will always be with you.
Carry them, harpooner, carry them with you,
like a weapon in your pocket, like birds in a cage.

© Serhiy Zhadan

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