The postwar ruins (Roofs ripped off,
The charred walls.) do not resemble
Skeletons, stripped by the predators—
The gnawed-upon scraps of ribs,
Crushed to dust cranial bones.
Only that the same birds
Flock to the remains
As to scorched ground.
To be struck in the forest by a flash of light, where there’s crunch
And crackling, rustle and creaking underfoot, and the hush
That brings to mind wheezes and groans, whispering and sighs,
Where every measly bush is disguised as
God knows what, and the half-rotten trunk—a dangerous maw.
Do not such deliberate and persistent fears shade
Of other depredations: burning, prickling, poison,
And of what multitude of others still?
© Mikhail Eremin. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2017 by Alex Cigale. All rights reserved.