Don’t let widows into the house.Don’t let them drink their fill.Don’t make the beds in the upstairs rooms.Don’t go to requiems.
Widows have a single passion—to sit silently in a cornerthinner than needles, sharper than vengeance.Squeezing veins on their wrists.
Your cat’s run off into the wood.Your muse has betrayed you.Your children will dream of nothingbut black shades.
Neither tears nor a nasty cry.Pale skin stretched over cheekbones.And you can’t tell her “it’s too late”and you can’t tell her “the moon’s veiled.”
Day is done and evening’s come.And, failing to find the right word,she’ll suddenly head off down the tram tracks,having never left home. [End Page 694]
anzhelina polonskaya was born in Malakhovka, a small town near Moscow. Since 1998, she has been a member of the Moscow Union of Writers, and in 2003, Polonskaya became a member of the Russian PEN-centre. An English version of her book, A Voice, appeared in the “Writings from an Unbound Europe” series at Northwestern University Press, which was shortlisted for the Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation. Paul Klee’s Boat, a bilingual edition of her poems, was shortlisted for the 2014 Best Translated Book Award and 2014 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.
andrew wachtel is the president of the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, his most recent books include The Balkans in World History, Russian Literature (with Ilya Vinitsky), and Remaining Relevant After Communism: The Role of the Writer in Eastern Europe. He is a translator from Russian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and Slovene, and his translation of Russian poet Anzhelina Polonskaya, Paul Klee’s Boat, was short-listed for the 2014 PEN Poetry Translation Prize.