Pronounce me, like the name of an illness
you know you have to live with. Eastern boundary of Europe.
Westward wind. A lava of nighttime snow.
Someone introduces himself as “Slava.”
You answer Slava Ukraini, glory to Ukraine.

Pronounce me, like a word from a different language
that signifies misfortune. Inspired snow is coming down, like people coming in for communion.
A quiet winter river flowing nowhere.
Until you say something, nothing will happen.

The opiate of the December sun.
The world, as if from atoms is made from the letters of your alphabet.
Nothing will happen until you say something.
Say “light” so everything won’t be so black.
 The work of the December sun — so brief.
I consist of a voice with which you once called me,
of warm insistent utterances.
The brief days of the winter solstice.

Time comprised of clauses and addenda.
Pronounce me like a number that will summon help.
A dash of wind added your voice — trusting, light.
Who do we have to be afraid of?
And you answer, “No one.”

The eastern border along which the common cold passes.
The temporary structure of a long-awaited winter.
Railway smoke, locomotive smoke rises from chimneys.
Snow lay on the river — unpronounced, weightless.

© Serhiy Zhadan

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