Anzhelina Polonskaya

translated by Andrew Wachtel

If you close the door—bullfinches pop out
of the silence amidst all the roof tiles.

And here a cage was hanging or such languor
that my bullfinches are leaving one by one.

Your father’s house will be like a rag in a fire,
you’re doubly alone, now your son’s grown up cruel.

How can you stay sane in this war or that?
Know -- your love is your prison.

I’ll come off the walls and enter more terrifying walls,
don’t consider my craft a labor here.

So I’ll end up the way you found me:
a stone, blind and deaf— nearby or far away.


translated by Andrew Wachtel

The rain’s dead noose suspended from the sky.
At dawn tomorrow your prison door will open.
You’ll gather up the manuscripts scattered in the corners
of your memory, measuring off the three square yards.
Two guards will enter and shove you from behind—they
will be your brothers.  A priest will lean over you and whisper
some words, and you will recognize your lover in him.  There will remain
just one friend, who will coldheartedly carry out the order.
Standing on the square you’ll cry out your last words, a couple of lines
you’ve been composing for years, bestowed on those who really need them.
And when the dust has cleared and your execution turns out to have been an error they’ll blame one another for it, thus killing you twice.

Anzhelina Polonskaya
Anzhelina Polonskaya

Anzhelina Polonskaya ( 1969)  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.  In 2004 an English version of her book, entitled "A Voice," appeared in the acclaimed “Writings from an Unbound Europe” series at Northwestern University Press.  This book was shortlisted for the 2005 Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation and  for the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) prize for literature in translation. Polonskaya has published translations in many of the leading world poetry journals, including World Literature Today, Poetry Review, The American Poetry Review, and International Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Prairie Schooner.  In October 2011 the “Oratorio-Requiem” Kursk, whose libretto consists of ten of Polonskaya’s poems had debut at the Melbourne Arts Festival. In 2012 a bilingual edition of her newer poems will be published by Zephyr Press under the title Paul Klee’s Boat.