The 25th Hour
An empty swimming pool,
a palace of pale olive twilight and reflections.
An echo, a transparent wounded bird,
pushes itself up with webbed feet of sound
from the heavy, smug water.
You lie on your back – a resting Jesus in swimming trunks,
on a comfortable, chlorinated crucifix, and
contemplate the pulsing scintillations on the ceiling,
which is high like in a temple.
Fuzzy scales of light flow up, and the fish inside
feels quietly happy, like a working computer.
And you dissolve in serenity;
crystals of mind and insanity melt while the blue night
is hissing with tires outside huge reticulate windows.
Here it is – the echoing, tiled, sterile feeling
of being out of time.
Now you are something that can’t be destroyed, wasted away,
An ancient grain of sand has stuck to the palate of a sentient shellfish;
it has become covered with worlds, mirages, oases –
it’s so good to practice when everyone has left,
when all the sinewy frogs in tracksuits,
with wet hair, have departed.
And you need to stay – after the whole mankind,
need to spend your 25th hour on messages for bottles
(wet words run like lilac mascara on
damp eyes of your manuscripts,)
to spend time on training an alien inside
in order to achieve more than
the generous earthly life
can ever offer.
Translated from Russian by Sergey Gerasimov
Dmitry Blizniuk is a poet from Ukraine. His most recent poems have appeared in Poet Lore, The Pinch, Salamander, Willow Springs, Grub Street, Spillway and many others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is also the author of The Red Forest (Fowlpox Press, 2018).
Sergey Gerasimov is a Ukraine-based writer, poet, and translator of poetry. Among other things, he has studied psychology. He is the author of several academic articles on cognitive psychology. When he is not writing, he leads a simple life of teaching, playing tennis, and kayaking down beautiful Ukrainian rivers. The largest book publishing companies in Russia, such as AST, Eksmo, and others have published his books. His stories and poems written in English have appeared in Adbusters, Clarkesworld Magazine, Strange Horizons, J Journal, The Bitter Oleander, and Acumen, among many others. His last book is Oasis published by Gypsy Shadow. The poetry he translated has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes. His novel about survival in Kharkiv under heavy bombardment, originally written in English, has been published in a Swiss magazine, in German.
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