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7 article(s) translated from Belarusian

from Baudelaire

They won't come at night and torture you in a dim cellar behind bars. Sleep, criminal! There's nobody to ask if you are guilty or not guilty. Your judge is sleeping, your guards are asleep, and your torturer is sleeping because it's his holiday, and he won't spend it thinking about your life, whether you are guilty or not guilty. Sleep, murderer! Law sleeps inside the books. State dust falls over the letters of law... Sleep! Nobody is going to disturb your...

Memory of Cranes

A migrating bird has broken its wing against the wire of my father's house. Now it shrieks as if somebody were sawing iron: It's you! It's your fault! In response, the flock turns around. Our water buckets stand empty but I'm too scared to go to the well. It seems any minute now there would start a bombing. © Uladzimir Niakliayeu. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Valzhyna Mort. All rights reserved.

A Game

Before noon the sky grew dark and later it fell on the road as black fire. I leaned, picked up the fire, and tossed it from one hand to the other. The fire scorched my right hand, and blackened the left. So one hand asked the other: Why are we tossing the fire? And the other hand answered: For the fun of it. Just a game. © Uladzimir Niakliayeu. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Valzhyna Mort. All rights reserved.

“maybe you too sometimes fantasize”

maybe you too sometimes fantasize that god resembles your most difficult teacher the one who never gave the highest mark one day he invites your parents to school and who knows what he is telling them there perhaps that any further effort is now futile because you're never going to graduate from life with honors maybe something different something completely and utterly different but when this talk is done your parents never come back maybe they're ashamed now a boy...

“What would I wish for”

What would I wish for to be a small freckle on the wind's nose to ride in a convertible beside a middle-aged man a teenager will do it's as if everything that has happened is nothing but Customs which you have to pass through in order to get into summer god has tossed a coin inside me as if I were a pond and made a wish and lingered in the air and everything belongs to me but hope and the mountains are kneeling like runners at the starting line their...


Men arrive like a date on a calendar they keep visiting once a month men who've seen the bottom of the deepest bottles kings of both earth and heaven and like the pearls from a torn necklace trembling I scatter at their touch their heartbeats open doors vessels respond to their voice commands and wind licks their faces like a crazy dog and gallops after their train and roams they undress me as if undressing themselves and hold me in their arms like a saxophone and oh this...


II even our mothers have no idea how we got here how we parted their legs and crawled out into the world the way you crawl from the ruins after a bombing we couldn't tell which of us was a girl or a boy and we gorged on dirt thinking it was bread and our future a gymnast on a thin thread of the horizon was performing there at the highest pitch bitch we grew up in a country where first your door is stroked with chalk and then at dark a chariot arrives and no one...

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