Home > Poetry > “Like a schoolboy…”
Marianna Geide
Translated from the Russian by Sibelan Forrester
Published: Sun Apr 15 2007
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
“Like a schoolboy…”

Like a schoolboy who, armed with a flashlight
under a woolen blanket,
sinks into some kind of illicit reading
during a nocturnal vigil,
like a schoolboy who probes his palate with his tongue,
wishing to awaken the possible tonsillitis,
I imagine the day when I’ll vanish from the world,
and I mix black bread with milk.
The cold wind shapes the water
into a prickly crust on the pale sidewalk,
amber and lead are mixed in the gleaming
water, and above it all are hanging gardens
of stone flowers and the windows’ blackness,
the electric vigil of shop windows.
And the pale light, like a sketch of future ruins,
drags narrow columns out of blackness,
and the edge of the wall, deceptively prickly,
and all that seems worthy of the right
to exist henceforth, after the rust and aphid,
which have come to take the place of electricity,
like naked ivy stretching over the wall
in the direction of the world.

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Sibelan Forrester has published numerous translations of poetry and prose from Croatian, Russian, and Serbian. Most recent is The Survival League, a translation of Gordan Nuhanovic’s stories, published in 2005 by Ooligan Press.__Forrester currently teaches Russian language and literature at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. (updated 4/2007)
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