It’s March, supposedly, but the spring
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.
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.
* * *
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.
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.
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.
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 a poem by Stepanova won the Compass Award competition.
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 was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.
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.