Alya Khaytlina. Day Eighteen. Translated by Dmitri Manin

Also in World:

1. Kharkiv
Waiting in a basement for the bombing to stop
Alya Khaytlina. Day Eighteen. Translated by Dmitri Manin

It’s March, supposedly, but the spring
Is patchy.
In places, winter persists into the second trimester.
Women with burdened bellies slowly marching
Down the stairs.

Two stories down, four more flights to go,
It’s cold, cold, give her a blanket, someone.
Remember, baby, we dreamt of summer, and so
The spring’s now coming.

It’s cold, cold, doctor, will there be pain?
Quiet, my dear, drink this.
I can’t.
Hear the bell on the bellfry throbbing again,
Hear the throbbing heart.

Remember how we dreamt of reading aloud,
Lounging on the blanket and puddle racing,
Children are kicking, children want out, out,
Hush, we’re in the basement.

Remember how we kissed for the first time briefly
And walked with flowers along green alleys,
So how did we end up here,
Where dog-headed men, cynocephali
Aim their guns at women with burdened bellies,
How could that happen, dear?

It’s cold, cold, get some hot water, quick,
Look at him: just out and already fighting.
Hush and listen: this is a new heart ticking,
A new heart crying.

* * *

Восемнадцатый день
Вроде бы март, но он не везде,
Где-то ещё зима на четвёртом месяце.
Женщины с тяжёлыми животами
Тянутся вниз по лестнице.

Два этажа, ещё четыре пролёта,
Холодно, холодно, дайте ей одеяло.
Помнишь, малыш, мы мечтали с тобой про лето,
Вот и весна настала.

Холодно, холодно, доктор, мне будет больно?
Тише, любимая, тише, попей.
Не пьётся.
Слышишь, как колокол бьётся на колокольне,
Слышишь, как сердце бьётся.

Помнишь, мечтали шлёпать с тобой по лужам,
Книги читать, валяться на покрывале,
Дети пинаются, дети хотят наружу,
Тсс, мы уже в подвале.

Помнишь, как мы друг друга поцеловали
Помнишь, как мы ходили с тобой с цветами,
Как же мы оказались
Там, где мужчины с песьими головами
Целятся в женщин с тяжёлыми животами,
Как так случилось, заяц?

Холодно, холодно, дайте воды горячей,
Ишь ты какой, появился – и сразу сердится.
Тихо вы, слышите – новое сердце плачет,
Бьётся новое сердце.

About the Author:

1. Аля фото
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:

manin_2021 (1)
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 Stepanova’s poem won the Compass Award competition. “Columns,” his new book of translations of Nikolai Zabolotsky’s poems, was published by Arc Publications in 2023 (

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