Irina Ivanchenko. Translated by Marina Eskin

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1. Damage to a building. Ukraine
Irina Ivanchenko. Translated by Marina Eskin

The air raid siren stopped wailing, but the fire truck

is howling, corroding the soul with dread;

is this rumble real, imagined, is the building struck?

Respond, survivors, say none of my friends is dead.

I’ll ask for silence and for even deeper silence

when at the end the heavenly glare flashes,

because today the web of wrinkles on my face

reflects the map of my country’s trenches.

In the morning you sew yourself up like a torn suture,

every wrinkle – like a crater reminds of the rockets’ might,

and you look in the mirror to figure out was it Bucha

or Lviv or Kharkiv was bombed tonight.

Even birds are hungry, low like the drones they fly,

winter is coming but the food is scarce in the closet,

home’s without power, but there is still some light

from within which is enough for those who are the closest.

When he, who finally conquers the dark, arrives,

I’ll tell him – thank you Lord for walking with me, for the grace,

because the web of wrinkles on my face

reflects the map of the fights.

* * *

Oтгудела сирена, но длится пожарный вой,

запуская иной, разъедающий душу зуммер.

Этот грохот – он есть или чудится? Кто живой –

отзовись и скажи, что никто из друзей не умер.

Когда он заискрит – тот божественный свет в конце,

попрошу тишины и еще, и еще тишины,

оттого что сетка морщин на моем лице

повторяет сегодня карту моей страны.

По утрам зашиваешь себя словно рваный шов,

в каждой морщине – воронка расцветки хаки,

и подходишь к зеркалу, чтобы узнать во Львов

прилетело ночью или бомбили Харьков.

Впереди зима, а запаса особо нет,

и голодные птицы, как дроны, летают низко.

Обесточен дом, но еще остается свет

изнутри, и его хватает на самых близких.

И когда он войдет – побеждающий мрак – в проем,

я скажу – спасибо, Боже, что шли вдвоем,

оттого что сетка морщин на лице моем

повторила карту боев.


About the Author:

1. author photo Irina
Irina Ivanchenko
Ennigerlo, Germany

Irina Ivanchenko (born April 17, 1974, in Kyiv) is a Ukrainian poet, journalist, and volunteer. She is the author of six books of poetry. Her poems have been published in literary magazines, almanacs, and anthologies in Ukraine, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Israel, Latvia, the USA, Australia, etc., and translated into English, French, and Flemish. Member of the National Union of Writers of Ukraine, she worked as an editor in magazine publishers, wrote several thousand articles, taught at the university, and gave public lectures. In March 2022, because of the war, she was forced to move with her family to Ennigerloh (Germany), where she set up a volunteer center for Ukrainian refugees.

About the Translator:

218088430_10225884543528577_7640761300469319979_n (2) (1)
Marina Eskin
Boston, MA, USA

Marina Eskin was born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg). She is a physicist by training. Marina is the author of four books of poetry in Russian, her texts and translations appear in various print and online publications. She is a member of the editorial board of “Interpoesia” journal.

Irina Ivanchenko Ирина Иванченко
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Three Questions. A Documentary by Vita Shtivelman
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Poetry Reading in Honor of Brodsky’s 81st Birthday
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