Dmitry Kolomensky. She is a Cannibal. Translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya

Also in Translations:

...Arina Kartasheva
Painting by Arina Kartasheva [fragment]
Dmitry Kolomensky. She is a Cannibal. Translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya

Meet Vera Petrovna! She is a cannibal.
No, it’s not like she boils folks for dinner. She isn’t an animal.
It’s not like she prowls under the cloak of the night, hiding beneath,
Flashing her blade, rattling her cane, sucking her teeth —
No, nay, never! Vera Petrovna grows just like a plant.
Under westerly winds, she assumes an eastward slant.
Under easterly winds, she leans west, and, I’ll have you know,
At those times, Vera doesn’t eat anyone. No.

But whenever a boss, any big or small boss, any boss of any kind,
Speechifying about peace and joy, makes his special sign,
Gives a certain signal, then Vera Petrovna makes sure the sign has been read.
Her shoulders grow wide and her eyes glow a special red.
Her religious feelings, class hatred and virginal honor grow so big, in a beat,
That she begins searching for someone to eat.
Having detected an ugly look, an unpleasant nose, an unwholesome conversation,
A simple Vera Petrovna will write a denunciation.
A sophisticated Vera Petrovna will write an article or a manual,
Titled “The Comprehensive List of Recommendations
………………… For the Identification and Disabling
……………….. Of the Politically Undesirable Elements,
……………….. Which Interfere with Russia’s Ability to Rise From Her Knees and Live in Bliss Perennial.”
But the truest Vera Petrovna knows the best places where they serve human flesh raw,
So she goes to work for the prosecution, for the police, for the law,
Where the meat is fresh, the supply chain is great, and everything works without a hitch.
Plus, eating together is healthier than eating alone, which
Has been proven time and again, no matter the age or the nation in which you eat.
As to the gravy which makes human flesh taste especially sweet,
It should be picked with respect to the era in which you eat it,
Based on the extant norms of how human flesh should be procured and treated.

But then, times change, and the boss gives a sign that active feeding is through.
At once, Vera Petrovna’s back goes slack and she switches her red eyes to blue,
Or brown; her feelings, her hatred, her honor cool down from hot to warm.
Once again, she assumes a regular person’s form.
Then, Vera Petrovna and I have a neighborly chat at the bus stop,
Like, radishes were crappy this year, but potatoes gave us a nice crop,
Like, they said we won’t get any snow in December — but then I see
She is staring intently, strangely, right through my coat, at me,
As though deciding which part of me would be roast and which would be stew.
“Meat’s hard to come by, these days,” she says. “The options are few.
Gotta kill for a decent cut.”
I open my mouth. I can’t speak at all.
I don’t know what to say, I don’t know where to flee; if I’d known, I’d have fled.
The motor is running, my heart is drumming, the bus goes forth at a crawl,
And Vera Petrovna’s eye is glowing blood-red.

~ ~ ~

Познакомьтесь: это Вера Петровна – она людоед.
И не то чтобы Вера Петровна варила людей на обед – нет!
И не то чтобы Вера Петровна кралась в ночи тайком,
Поигрывая клинком, потюкивая клюкой, поцыкивая клыком –
Вот опять-таки нет! Вера Петровна растет как цветок:
Если дует западный ветер – клонится на восток,
Если дует восточный – на запад. И, что важнее всего,
В эти моменты Вера Петровна не ест никого.

Но когда начальник – не важно, велик ли он, мал –
Рассуждая публично о мире и счастье, подает особый сигнал,
Некий знак – то Вера Петровна считывает его на раз.
И тогда у нее распрямляются плечи, загорается красным глаз,
Отрастает религиозное чувство, классовая ненависть, девичья честь –
И она начинает искать кого бы съесть.
Обнаружив враждебный взгляд, ядовитый язык, неприятный нос,
Простодушная Вера Петровна пишет донос,
Изощренная Вера Петровна пишет пособие или статью
Под названием «Наиболее полный перечень рекомендаций
………………………..по выявлению и пресечению деятельности
………………………..политически вредных элементов,
………………………..мешающих России подняться с колен и жить в раю».
А самая-самая Вера Петровна знает, что за так человечинки не поднесут,
И устраивается работать в полицию, прокуратуру, суд –
Там и мясо свежей, и поставки бесперебойней, и устроено все по уму;
И вообще, в коллективе питаться полезней, чем одному, чему
Существует масса примеров – в любой стране и во все века.
А уж соус, под которым человечинка наиболее сладка,
Выбирается в соответствии с эпохой, когда устанавливаются
Нормативы и параметры заготовок людского мясца.

Но потом времена меняются, начальство сигналит отбой.
Тут же Вера Петровна никнет плечами, красный глаз меняет на голубой
Или карий; чувства, ненависть, честь умеряют пыл –
Человек становится с виду таким же, как был.
И мы едем с Верой Петровной в автобусе, обсуждаем дела –
Что редиска в этом году не пошла, а картошка пошла,
Что декабрь обещают бесснежный. И тут я вижу, что
Она как-то странно смотрит, будто пытается сквозь пальто
Разглядеть, какую часть меня – на жаркое, какую – в щи…
– Да и с мясом сейчас непросто, – говорит, – ищи-свищи –
Днем с огнем не найдешь пристойного.
Открываю рот.
Что сказать – не знаю, куда бежать – невдомек.
А мотор урчит, сердце стучит, автобус ползет вперед
И в глазу у Веры Петровны кровавый горит огонек.

About the Author:

...пхото kolomenskiy_dmitriy
Dmitry Kolomensky
St. Petersburg, Russia / Israel

Dmitry was born in Gatchina, and spent most of his life in St. Petersburg. He graduated from the Faculty of Philology of the Russian State Pedagogical University named after A. I. Herzen. From 1995 to 1998 he attended Nonna Slepakova’s Literary Society, and since 1998 has been part of V. A. Leikin’s Literary Society. His poems were published offline and on the Internet. He has authored four books of poetry. Member of the Writers’ Union of St. Petersburg. In April 2022, he emigrated to Israel.

About the Translator:

Krushelnitskaya Pic_East West (1)
Anna Krushelnitskaya
Ann Arbor, MI. USA

Anna Krushelnitskaya (b.1975) lives in Ann Arbor, MI. Anna’s original texts and translations appear in Russian and in English in various print and online publications. She has authored two collections of poems in English. Anna’s most voluminous work is the 700-page bilingual interview collection Cold War Casual/ Простая холодная война (2019).

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