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We would fly up like geese From fields soggy with rain - Twenty takeoffs a day, please - Too fun to explain! We would laugh, taking fog banks for sauna steam. And we’d stuff ourselves tight In the vastness of space, And the cumulus white Shredded to ragged lace, And the bullets would stitch the clouds back Into parachute seams. At night we’d sneak back our way With no gauges at all, Fuselage and propeller blades Riddled with holes, And the gunner hung limp on the straps in behind. Down our flesh chills would creep, And the steering would jam And would shudder and beat A tattoo, like the drum When the circus trapeze act is doing a trick death-defying. We would land on one wing, all askew it, And the memory still tightens our nerves: It seemed, the machine couldn’t do it, Didn’t want, was unwilling to serve. Today the machine and me Dance two as one: In the sky, all to see, In an emergency run - Don’t you stab me up there in my back, somehow! This flight we will weather, We’ll eat when it’s through - So we’ll be landing together On the field, we two, Because I do not dare abandon you now. True, I’ve been around And I see the signs In that one-winged two-faced partner of mine Of a player who bluffs, hiding all his intent in a lie. But ignore all the omens; I spit on the lot: The machine has a limit - Whereas I do not. We will see in this flight who will sing and who’ll cry. Buddy, if you and I will get through it We will not be consigned to reserve. Who said the machine couldn’t do it, Wouldn’t, and isn’t willing to serve?
© Tamara Vardomskaya. Translation, ?