Alya Khaitlina. Day Four. Translated by Dmitri Manin

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Alya Khaitlina. Day Four. Translated by Dmitri Manin
After the Russian bombing.
Alya Khaitlina. Day Four. Translated by Dmitri Manin


Someone who lives inside me is twenty-five weeks.
For twenty-five weeks I’ve been his bread and bedsheets.
And if I’m now sobbing or screeching,
What do I teach him?

Someone inside the subway has turned three days old.
He knows no daylight, but he knows fire and cold.
He lies on a little wool blanket, surrounded by
So many hands and eyes.

Someone stuck in the bomb shelter has just turned five.
He’s already learned to stay silent to stay alive,
Not to whine “Mommy, toons” or “don’ wanna eat that.”
Children learn fast.

I don’t give a damn how old the kremlin man is,
But the ground must split and swallow him right where he stands,
And on the spot where this happens, I have no doubt,
Nothing green will sprout.

His spit shall foam, and his blood shall turn into shit,
And on his grave “Serves him right” shall be writ,
And the kids – let the kids learn to whine again.
Thus the war will end.

* * *


Человеку внутри меня двадцать пять недель,
Двадцать пять недель я и хлеб ему, и постель.
И когда я сейчас рыдаю или кричу,
То чему я его учу?

Человеку внутри метро вот уже три дня,
Он не знает света, но знает запах огня.
Он лежит на полу, на пледике, а вокруг
Столько глаз и рук.

Человеку в убежище стало недавно пять,
Он уже научился в нужный момент молчать
И не ныть “мама, мультик” и “это не та еда”,
Дети быстро учатся, да.

Мне плевать, сколько лет человеку внутри кремля,
Но тотчас же должна расступиться под ним земля,
И в том месте, где это, надеюсь, произойдёт,
Ни один росток не взойдёт.

Пусть слюна его станет мылом, а кровь дерьмом,
На надгробье его напишут “и поделом”,
Ну, а дети – пусть дети снова сумеют ныть,
Это будет конец войны.

About the Author:

Alya Khaitlina
Alya Khaitlina
Munich, Germany

Alya Khaitlina was born in St. Petersburg in 1987. In 2012, she moved to Germany, where she still lives. She is a philologist by training, a linguist by profession, a specialist in children’s language development, a translator, and a poet by calling.

About the Translator:

Dmitri Manin
Dmitri Manin
California, USA

Dmitri Manin is a physicist, programmer, and translator of poetry. His translations from English and French into Russian have appeared in several book collections. His latest work is a complete translation of Ted Hughes’ “Crow” (Jaromír Hladík Press, 2020) and Allen Ginsberg’s “The Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems” (Podpisnie Izdaniya, 2021). Dmitri’s Russian-to-English translations have been published in journals (Cardinal Points, Delos, The Café Review, Metamorphoses etc) and in Maria Stepanova’s “The Voice Over” (CUP, 2021). In 2017, his translation of a poem by Stepanova won the Compass Award competition.

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