By Olena Pashuk (Kitsan) 
Translation: Hanna Komar, John Farndon


how is it, to carry inside
the child of your enemy
that no one invited into this world
and no-one promised to love

like an enemy’s bullet
in your body
you can’t take out

what will it first cry about
in what language its first word
where will it find love
in the holey pockets of the world

luli luli baby
now all the lullabies
are weeds in the black field
all fairy tales are without honey
the windows of languages are open wounds
disturbed nests
that children fall from

luli luli baby
fall asleep and don’t wake up
why would you need to know
that Babai is your father
whose hands are knives
whose body is a gun

black butterflies
looking for at least some colour
on the burnt flowerbeds
there is none and will be none
until the child is born
with a smile on its lips
with both parents in its heart

wild wasteland
hungry cradles

trees poking from the ground
like pipes
inseminated by the wind
a melancholy song sways
there’s no one to listen to it

black butterflies
peering into the web of windows
and there in the middle of the house
only marigold

you come out of the water to the shore
like a fish
out of curiosity
houses here and there
people here and there
and you don’t know where it’s safer
where you belong

you ask the birds for bread
like your grandfathers once asked
for water from the sky
and around
trees are sinking
like tied dogs
and the water is so thick
that you can’t see your neighbours

the ringing of bells from the depths
a child’s cry
and radio
from which the song
of lilac flows

you follow this singing
to a muddy path
and at the bottom of your house
everyone is still sitting at the table

the sun has fallen like an overripe apple
and everything that falls
will become humus
to nourish the hungry seeds that year
with myself

milk splashes in the jug
as it did when you were a child
but there are no children
they’ve run in different directions
and the strongest went to the sky

so quiet on the streets
without their yellow laughter
one can hear how an autumn leaf
grits its teeth in the wind

the sun has fallen like a worm-eaten apple
it rolled
from house to house
like an unrequested message

that message
has broken a mother’s heart
and her soul flowed out
like autumn from a chestnut tree

until yesterday
I didn’t know anything about you
for me you hadn’t been born yet
and for someone you had already died

a black mouth of the grave
won’t swallow your name
it will sound
like a string
between heaven and earth
between me and your mother

her pain is so heavy
that all the women of the world
should share it with her
cry with her
watering freshly planted crosses
which will never turn green
which will not bear fruit

when her eyes become like two dry stones
and it will hurt her to look at this world
and when she can’t hear anymore
from the abyss of memory of her son’s voice
we can stand next to her transparent body
and hold the ground under her feet
the sky above her head
a bird in her chest