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from the April 2016 issue

Crow, Wheels


When the city was destroyed,
they started fighting over the cemetery.
It was right before Easter
and wooden crosses over the freshly dug graves
put out their paper blossoms—
red, blue, yellow,
neon green, orange, raspberry pink.

Joyful relatives poured vodka for themselves
and for the dead—straight into their graves.
And the dead asked for more, and more, and more
and the relatives just kept pouring.

The celebration went on.
But at some point
a young man tripped over the stretchers
at the grave of his mother-in-law,
an old man stared into the sky
and found himself missing an eye,
a fat man smashed his shot glass
and damaged the edging around his wife’s grave.
Glass fell at his feet
like hail.

Easter came.
Now a live crow sits on top of a grave
of Anna Andriivna Voronova
instead of a gravestone.
BTR-80 wheels
rest at the cemetery nest of the Kolesnykiv family,
where lie buried
Maria Viktorivna, Pylyp Vasylyovych, and Mykola Pylypovych.

What are they to me, those wheels and that crow?
I can no longer remember.  

© Lyuba Yakimchuk. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2016 by Oksana Maksymchuk and Max Rosochinsky. All rights reserved. 

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