manatee comes to me manatee manatee
tells me man is alone at sea
lonely tree lonely tree lonely tree lonely tree
repeats manatee to me
from the birth to the burial peat
no friend around no foe no foe
neither loved one nor even a foe
you have only a snowstorm another storm
and a shank and a second shank
and an arm and another arm
and he will laugh right in my face
you are the only one manatee says alone
you are alone you are all alone
even if you shout in your four voices man
even if you shout with your four mouths
a man will not change himself a damn thing
not a damn thing will change
float away manatee I tell him now
and I’m holding out a bag
let you float away deep into the darkness
and I’m holding out a jail
yes I’m alone I tell the manatee
damn I’m alone alone
so what I’m telling him so what
and I’m holding out a coat
put your coat on I say and just swim
far away where there is no one
and then the manatee puts on the coat
and as handsome as a brigantine
the manatee floats away in a coat
born of the deep sea
and now I’m left all alone
in the surrounding silence
I am alone I repeat alone
I’m alone i’m alone
Translated from Russian by Leonid Yakovlev
Oksana Goroshkina was born in Krasnoyarsk. She is a winner of several poetry awards and a member of the Union of Russian Writers. Her poems appeared in Russian literary magazines Day and Night, Yenisei, Siberian Lights, Culture of the Altai Territory, Parovoz, and other publications. She is the author of two books in Russian, “Nobody Died” and “At the Edge of Summer”.
Leonid Yakovlev, aka Kfir Grishmanovsky, was born in Leningrad in 1962. He graduated from Leningrad University with a major in chemistry. He worked as a biophyschemist and information technology specialist. After leaving Russia in 1995, he lived in the US, Finland, and Israel. From 2005 to 2020, he was employed as a lead developer at Nokia. His poems were published in Russian-language magazines and various poetry books, including Nevsky Almanach, Emigrantskaya Lyra, Znamya, etc.. His book “Echo” was published in 2018. He lives in Finland. https://grishmanovsky.com/
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