I am the lightest drinker of all drinking men. In me I have great moral power. And our family, consisting of sobers and drunks, Handing me a list of several sheets, Prepared me for a trip to the city. So I could bring a mink coat for my daughter-in-law, A soluble coffee for my mother and grandmother, A carpet for two brides, black caviar for my son-in-law, For my father-in-law - some Armenian cognac. Iím full of wounds and bruises, Iím scared a bit To forget what I should buy for them in order. I memorized the list of things by heart, And sewed up the dough into the lining. So, two coats for my brother, some cologne for sisterís husband, Father-in-law said to get anything they sell. A carpet for two brides, beluga caviar for son-in-law, And a couple of bottles for my sister. I poked at peopleís backs, stepped on their feet, I strode right at shirts and raincoats, So the enemies couldnít get their hands on my list, I swallowed it without any fear. I can recall, my brother wants a coat, anything for my grandma, Father-in-law wants some Yerevan vodka, A carpet for two sisters, too, a mink for my brother-in-law, For my sister - anything, but decent and pretty. Why should I return empty-handed back home? But so, I came across the merchandise. "Your currency, comrade?" they asked me, a fool, "It canít be!" I say. "Not dollars." Some soluble tobacco for me, no caviar for my son-in-law, A cologne for my father-in-law for hangover. Anything for those two brides, wine for my sisterís mate, As for me - the yellow in these plates. I canít remember the pounds, the sterlings of words, Overwhelmed by a terrible confusion. Why did I have to shed my blood? Why in the world did I eat that list? Why did I sew the rubles into the lining? But still, I have to get that coat, coffee for my son-in-law. Horseradish for my father-in-law, beer for my grandfather. Plus I should buy some cognac, a soluble daughter-in-law, As for my brother-he could get along without silver.                    
© Nathan Mer. Translation, 1991