Fireproof box


In the dim light of my childhood dream

an old cupboard stands flush against a sideboard.

I can see the dark galleys

and the scent of sea on each damp stone.

Bologna! What lies, like negatives, on my

dream’s dresser floor?

And who captured these scenes on film —

white figures behind the columns?

*  *  *

A white Viennese chair sets against the sea

and you — time fades in the landscape’s

evening waves. Sculpted cheekbones in profile

and a child’s sand-plastered shovel.

When you’re here, red wine

flows for two, and the bitter wafts into salt air.

when you’re here, everything’s made right

as the sun gnaws away at the beach like moths.

Sunset over the sea! Tragedy’s classic

moment. Silently gazing to a point,

I see not you, but a color — and in it your

silhouette. And this point is not an end.

*  *  *

а small man in glasses and a beard

unveils me in a foreign tongue,

beneath a moon, mute as a fish,

I’m not sleeping, you’re not asleep,

and my head’s abuzz — something did

happen to me, a bird sang from a branch,

turned into an owl, muttering softly

in its own language, then flew into the dark

through a thicket of alphabet

*  *  *

a few words on ribbons of language

in a scrawling hand wrapped around

a tree hanging low in the darkness,

incomprehensible to the human mind

from a thousand invisible keys

interlaced in the dark between roots,

a new alphabet deposits —

a brook dodges, a tree burns.

*  *  *

D. T.

Overgrown with poetry, like a second skin,

the first covering my face and hands;

all of these more similar to the rhymes

of Blok or even Fet, his fluid sounds —

Overgrown, over time these things take root

as you push aside the dresser of blinds — already

there are problems — prefixes and suffixes pour out,

awash in the soapy water of morphemes.

Overgrown with oneself, a maze of larders,

rooms, where the electric light is always on,

endless staircases — channel embankments — you can

wander yourself the entire night and never find a toilet.

*  *  *

. . . a tree. Stands

in the courtyard, like a condemned

man against a brick wall,

Aged, wrinkled.


I name it: “Tree.”

It seemed dead, but with

an ear placed against it

I could hear every leaf

that’s ever rustled.

The tree has grown up into the wall

of where I’m staying.

Strange dreams of mead and the sea

drift by, forgotten.

While living there for a year I wrote:

How strange on evenings for one

to wander among classical façades,

as if capsized in the dark,

deafened by the damp snowfall . 

At dusk,

with the air grown heavy,

I could feel underground rivers.

An invisible window rapping.

As if I’d risen as a specter.

How many times, my God!

wandering through a vacant apartment,

ascending Beast Bridge.

Cathedrals, towers, cupolas

lay like lairs at the bottom of the canal.

Ravaged. Vacant.

And for some reason I recalled that tree.

“How is it doing against the wall?

A dream shows — there’s no one.”

Slowly goes back.

After all, in essence, we are similar —

we speak, but we cannot say anything.

Even the dreams we see are someone else’s.

We wake — remembering nothing.

And then I saw them.


in red hockey helmets,

running along the roof

as bolts rumbled,

opening panes of the constellations.

No city, but a five-decked ship

ablaze — lifted upwards.

I saw mud clods slipping down,

falling in the direction of bedroom communities.

Mollusks, seaweed, fish glimmering in the sea,

plastered over roots, —

it’s only a dark branch rapping at the window.

. . . Its pattern,

fine as a scarab

descending the morning glass.

I don’t recall a single word.

But since then, as soon as

the stars begin to creak,

it seems as if this language

is not irretrievably lost.

One day it will return

to be the clearest

of all languages

we’ve ever