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Oleg Fesenko. There's Nothing Left

 
Today I brought the wounded

to the military hospital,

and I couldn’t leave,

even though I hadn’t eaten in three days.
 

People, of whom there was almost nothing left,

Grabbed me by my hands

with the stumps of their arms,

and asked: How are our brothers at the front?
 

Surgeons,

with almost nothing left of their hearts,

sat quietly beside me,

while I told cheerful tales of our near victory.

Their hands, tired birds,

practiced making stitches,

faster and faster,

so that one day they wouldn’t be too late

for one stitch.

I carried out bowls of bloody scraps,

spilling remnants of people

into filthy bins,

where there was no room at all

for more pieces

of human bodies.
 

I mopped the corridor,

picking up bloody filth from all the fronts,

with a T-shirt

punched in four places.

 

I spoon-fed a bollard man,

who had no arms or legs,

only eyes,

illuminating the chamber

with the light of final clarity.
 

I carried crates of medicine

behind rushing female volunteers,

who had managed to hug and warm

everyone who happened to be nearby,

showing no one their stiffened tears.
 

And then I walked out the hospital gates.

To a shabby kiosk.

To eat a sausage.
 

And I heard a conversation.

They were walking down a street,

A prostitute and a kept woman.

One was saying to the other,

stroking a well-fed lapdog:

“I know for a fact

there’s almost nothing left of Ukraine.

They don’t have light or gas anymore.

They will freeze to death in the winter.

Even now they’re not alive.

I know for a fact.

My daddy’s a deputy.

He controls everything.

Don’t be nervous, stupid…”
 

And you know what I thought?

I thought about it, and I laughed out loud.

I laughed so hard,

that the lapdog in the kept woman’s arms

flinched

and died.

And the whore shut up,

ran away,

mistaking me for a maniac.
 

They weren’t wrong, two lost souls.

I thought: I don’t give a fuck!

I don’t care if the whole Ukraine disappears

from the world map.

Ukraine is already forever

on the Great Dream Map,

where, in terrible nightmares,

scary Ukrainians appear

to every orc,

whoever he is,

and tear him apart.
 

I write in Russian,

because it is the language of losers;

the language of death,

of which there is almost nothing left,

only a few words

for a farewell song

on a grave of the terrible Ukrainian,

who will return in the punishing dreams

of every hungry orc.
 

I write these non-poems

because I feel very sorry for the doggy

that died from my laughter.
 

Saying goodbye to the hospital,

I went to the front.

But there was almost nothing left of me.

Only the calm, cheerful anger of the people,

who hadn’t had time to grow up,

yet already refused to live on their knees.
 

I know for a fact,

all of us will be killed.

It’s just

a normal

historical

practice —
 

to kill those

who do not want to be slaves

to the victor
 

But everyone,

who has almost nothing left,

is transported to a fairy tale,

where there is so much human,

that there’s enough

for a couple of new dances.

For people with no arms, no legs.
 

We dance just with our eyes,

Through which the future sees us,

where there’s so much
                      work,

                              love,

                                     songs,

                                           dancing

for the living.
 

About the Author:

Oleg Fesenko
Oleg Fesenko
Odesa, Ukraine

Oleg Fesenko lives in Odesa, Ukraine.

Oleg Fesenko Олег Фесенко
Bookshelf
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“I have been reading Yulia Fridman’s poems for a long time and have admired them for a long time.” (Vladimir Bogomyakov, poet)

by Nikolai Zabolotsky

A collection of early poems by Zabolotsky, translated into English by Dmitri Manin. “Dmitri Manin’s translations retain the freshness of Zabolotsky’s vision.” – Boris Dralyuk

by Art Beck

A collection of essays and reviews by Art Beck. “These pieces are selected from a steady series of essays and reviews I found myself publishing in the late aughts of the still early century.”

by Alexis Levitin

In this collection of 34 short stories, author Alexis Levitin, travel set in hand, takes the reader on a journey across several continents – and even into space – exploring the joys of chess and its effect on the lives of those who play.

by Aleksandr Kabanov

A book of wartime poems by Alexandr Kabanov, one of Ukraine’s major poets, fighting for the independence of his country by means of words and rhymes.

by Mark Budman

Every character in these twenty-two interlinked stories is an immigrant from a place real or imaginary. (Magic realism/immigrant fiction.)

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