Friday, January 30, 2015

Irina Mashinski

The Border

            for Sasha
    I flew over Norway, 
I had lived in a cage – a landscape of frost covered wires
  and then broke free,
    flew away, saw fiords -
and lost fear.

Cliffs shone pure slate, their after-rain luster 
when I flew over Norway, 
I was finally out, out – and you
were five, you slept on the woolen sleeve of my Moscow
winter coat in the bliss of the stratosphere.
Just think: I can walk, hear whispers, see hues the way
            dry leaves  fall

with a hollow sound
of clapping hands
into empty symphony hall -
as my limbs, my eye lashes, and  the lines of a poem are free

to flow
over me,
not bound anymore by my eyelids
    nor by the gates
          of that thirst for
the border below.
(How it  gleams in twilight!-

the rim of a forest lake,
            moraine ragged edge).

The end of the world. For Ray Bradbury

Time. It belongs to us,
not more than, say, the moon,

Time, oblivious to whatever
a wife hears in the evening
from some misanthrope on the couch with a newspaper.

She listens patiently to the appalling details
of  the latest news,
and she sneaks out to bury them in the recycling bin

with an iron weight on top

Nobody sees her but the moon.

So, it’s tomorrow -  the last day of the world, at least
until the evening when it is once again
second to last.

Irina Mashinski is a bilingual poet, editor and translator, the author of nine books of poetry in Russian. Irina Mashinski’s work has appeared in Poetry International, Atlanta Review, International Poetry Review, Fulcrum, The London Magazine, St. Petersburg Review, and other literary journals and anthologies and has been translated into several languages. She is the co-editor (with Robert Chandler and Boris Dralyuk) of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry  (Penguin Classics, 2015), as well as co-founder (with the late poet Oleg Woolf) and current editor-in-chief of the StoSvet literary project (, which includes literary journals Storony Sveta (in Russian ) and Cardinal Points (in English).  She received Russian America (2001) and Maximilian Voloshin (2003) Awards in poetry, and, with Boris Dralyuk, First Prize in the 2012 Joseph Brodsky/Stephen Spender Translation Prize competition.

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