Home > Poetry > “Like a schoolboy…”
Translated from the Russian by Sibelan Forrester
Published: Sun Apr 15 2007
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
“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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Marianna Geide is a poet and prose writer. Born in 1980, she graduated from the Russian State University of the Humanities (RGGU) as a specialist in the life and work of Thomas Aquinas. She is the author of two books of poetry, Vremia opyleniia veshchei (2005) ans  Slizni Garroty (2006), and has been awarded sevral poetry prizez. “Like a schoolboy” will appear this fall in New Russian Poetry, and anthology to be published by Dalkey Archive Press as part of a billingual project of the National Endowment for the Arts. 

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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