I can barely remember conception, Incomplete must be my recollection. I was conceived sinfully, without intention, And came out before expectation. I was not born in torture or malice - Nine month is not nine years I have spent my first term in the uterus Believe me, there’s nothing good there. Thank you, the witnesses, that you have spit and thought of me, That suddenly my parents decided to conceive of me, That in the times so hidden and, now - almost legendary, When huge times were availed upon and were long-term outside of time, They took them in the midst of night - and many even earlier, And here they live my brotherhood, my honorable company! Forward, bursting the thoughts, now forward! Words, the words, my dear lines, keep in order! I have first been availed of my freedom From the 1937 order! If I could know how long I have suffered - To have beaten the creep at his game! But I was born, and lived, and recovered In the First Mechancs house - in the end. And there behind the wall, behind the little barrier, Two women were treating themselves to vodka very happily, All have lived humbly, the system of the corridor, For thirty eight cages one bathroom in all! Here tooth did not fall on the tooth, the sweater did not warm at all, Here I had learned extremely fast what is the worth of money all. Neighbor was not afraid of the siren, And my mother got used to it finally, And I sneered, a healthy three-old At this aerieal siren. Not all that comes above is from heaven - And the people were dimming the lights! And like little assistance on front end - Was my sand and a hole-ridden rake. And sunlight beamed in tree rays, as though aware of all its faults - Above Eugene Kyrillich and the Guisya Moiseevna He too her: “How the sons of yours?” “Fallen without memory Hey Guisya, we’ve suffered, we are of one land, We’ve suffered, and that means that we have all been russified - Yours - murdered without note, mine - guiltlessly put in jail. I have gone from blankets and pacifiers, I have lived not forgoven or thrown, And they called me a “slink,” all these dummies, Though I was brought to birth with no problem, I have tried to tear off the masks and They chase prisoners - why should not we? And our fathers, our brothers, returned to Houses - that belong to them and to me. Aunt Zina has a sweater with the dragons and the serpents, And to Popova Vovchik the father came with trophies, and The trophy of Japan, the trophy too of Germany... It came, the land of Lemon, the suitcase land entirely! I took from father at the station shoulder straps, And in evacuation the soldiers came in crowding. And they saw through all things, they recovered, They got drunk - then they became sober. And cried off all those who awaited, Those that did not await - weapt it over. Started digging Vitka’s Father, and Genka, We asked him for what cause, he responds: “All the corridors end with a wall, and The tunells lead into the light.” Ancestral prohesy did not listen to Victor at all From our ancestral corridor he went into the prison hall. He always was an arguer, he’ll get to wall - himself he’ll find... He walked all through the corridor - and and ended with a wall besides... But fathers - all have minds their own, and what they care for at all times... We see life independently whatever our backgrounds... All - almost till one year olds - They wanted all to wage war all the way, And in cellars and semi-cellars Children wanted to get under tanks. They did not even get a bullet - In the common way live and be tough: Not to dare, not to live - but they dared From the files to make knives. They put into the lungs, Black from the nicotine, Upon the handle light splicers The business came from changeling came the sleeping guardians,     At first they “fantics” played without a scrimp or conscience, And then romantics came to be the thieves without conscience.                                         It was time - and there were cellars, It was time - and then people were low. And canals went to there the canals end, And went into right place with the flow. Children of former sargeants and majors, Having risen to icy gates, For the reasons of these corridors They were told to come down all the way.
© Ilya Shambat. Translation, 2014