An angel was crossing the sky of midnight
His tiny wings went putt-putt.
Golden curled, swift and featherlight,
No business to think about.
He was coming to visit his native land
Which, in his life before,
He left, along with some fifty men,
And went to fight in a war.
The war captivated them, ba-da-boom,
Spreading its wings of fire.
High and dry, alone in her room,
His wife was staying behind.
She sits and knits, keeping silent when
Her baby goes goo-goo-oh.
The postman raps on a window pane
Standing knee-deep in snow.
On the floor, wet traces dry up, dry up.
Water drips from the tap, drip-drip.
In the pictures, they smile, hold hands, and hug.
Her bags are packed for the trip.
The young woman was traveling far and wide.
A bell was tolling, ding-dong.
She searched for her husband but could not find,
And finally came back home.
Lo, on the doorstep she meets her son,
His hair cut short, cut short.
Forgive me, mother, but just the same
I’m off to fight in a war.
Clots of clouds drift in the heavens.
Angels, begone! Shoo, shoo!
Or else our boys in the air defense
Are getting ready to shoot.
По небу полуночи ангел летел,
золотокудр и пустотел,
не по делам, а так.
Летел навестить родные места,
откуда в жизни иной
он и еще человек полста
отправились за войной.
Война их манила, обожжена,
а где-то там молодая жена
осталася на бобах,
сидит и молча пряжу сучит,
в окошко ее почтальон стучит,
валенки все в снегу.
Мокрый след высыхает в сенях,
из крана – все кап да кап,
на карточке – ихняя вся семья
и нараспашку шкап.
Долго жена молодая шла,
колокол бом да бом,
мужа искала, да не нашла
и воротилась в дом.
А на крылечке стоит сынок –
стрижен – под ноль, под ноль:
ты извини меня, мама, но
мне пора за войной.
По небу клоками летят облака,
ангелы, вам чего?
Летите отсюдова прочь, пока
спят бойцы ПВО.
Alla Bossart is a journalist, poet, and prose writer. She graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in journalism and worked for various national (i.e., Russian) publications. After 1985, she worked for Moscow News, Ogonyok, and Stolitsa. She began writing for Novaya Gazeta and became its staff writer. An author of three novels, a nominee for the Big Book Award, Alla has authored five books of prose, a three-volume book of journalism, and three collections of poetry. Her poems have been published in many Russian-language magazines in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Yekaterinburg, Israel, and in the United States and Australia.
Andrei Burago was born and raised in St. Petersburg, where he graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics of the St. Peterburg State University. Andrei moved to the USA in 1991. Currently, he lives in Seattle and works as a software developer.
A book of poems in Russian by Victor Enyutin (San Francisco, 1983). Victor Enyutin is a Russian writer, poet, and sociologist who emigrated to the US from the Soviet Union in 1975.
This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!
“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
Julia Wiener’s novels focus on those moments when illusory human existence collapses in the face of true life, be it spiritual purity, love, old age, or death.
Evgeny Pinelis, an intensive care physician in a New York City hospital, was born in Moscow to a family of doctors, graduated from medical school, and works in the United States. “Vsyo Nichevo” (literal translation: “All Nothing” or “Everything’s Okay”) is his debut book.