On the road so long,
then lost between the deck planks
apple seeds
in dampness and dust.
The road is the time we’ve spent
on understanding what’s lost to us.
Trees grow on ships that ply the rivers.
In the fall, ships nestle into the silt
amid the water and the gloom.

What do you know about trees?
Trees take root
in holds and engine rooms
down to the twilight depths
where dry grain and reserves of drinking water are hidden.

What should they do now?
On ships that are going down
oh so slowly,
laden with branches and leaves.
When you’re thinking about trees
think about everyone
you’ve seen in your life.
Long roots
that tie us to life.
When you think about green apples
about all the people
who worked on this river
trying at least for an instant to constrain its current.

The end of October.
Women leave the bank.
The wind washes heavy towels,
like the flags of the winners.

The earth warms up and cools down.
You warm up and cool down
right there with it.

© Serhiy Zhadan

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