1. If I were the postman
on her block,
if I knew where
she gets those certified
letters from,
maybe I’d understand
life better,
how it’s set in motion,
who fills it with song,
who fills it with tears.

People who read newspapers,
people with warm
hearts, good souls,
grow old without letting
anyone know.
If I were the postman
on this block,
even after their deaths
I’d water the plants
on their dry balconies,
and feed the feral cats
in their green kitchens.

Then, running down the stairs,
I would hear her say,

“Postman, postman, all my happiness
fits into your bag,
don’t give it away
to the milkman or hardened widows,

Postman, postman,
there is no death,
and there is nothing after death.”

There is hope
that everything will be
just like we want it,
and there is confidence
that everything happened,
just like we wanted it.

Oh, her voice is bitter
and imponderable.
Oh, her handwriting is difficult
and indecipherable.
That kind of handwriting
is good for signing death sentences —
sentences no one will ever carry out,
no one will ever figure it all out.

© Serhiy Zhadan

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