Iíll tell without bullshitting, those times for me are gone. A firing squad was shooting at me right after dawn. Who would have seen this coming? Why did it go this way? Itís not that I miss something, Iím not supposed to say. My own commander almost saved me then, But someone higher chose to disagree, And every soldier in this squad shot well, But there was one who did not shoot at me. My fortune, unattractive, has long gone off the track, One night I took a captive, but failed to bring him back. And commissar Suetin, our unrelenting man, already was inventing my story with his pen. He brought to light for everyone to view The clipped and stitched material, decree. And there was nothing anyone could do, Except the one who did not shoot at me. The hand fell down the crevice, commanding men to shoot, And sent me to the heavens on my one-way commute. But then I hear: "Bring medics! This bastardís still alive. There are no formal edicts to shoot the convicts twice." And so the doc was clucking with his tongue, Removing bullets, looking quite at sea. And I was talking in my raving mind With this young lad who did not shoot at me. I licked my wounds forever, dog-like, so they could heal. In hospitals, however, I was in high esteem. And every sister-cutie was thinking I was hot: "Hey, you, un-executed! Itís time to take a shot!" Our regiment was fighting pretty far, And I would send there glucose for his tea, So itíll be sweeter to commence the war, For whom? For one who did not shoot at me. I drank tea from a saucer, with alcohol at times, I saw what war could offer and managed to survive. The regiment commander assigned me to my squad: "Keep fighting, and that blunder - I donít take any fault." I would be glad to, but down on the grass, I howled and cursed my fate in blasphemy; A German sniper finished me at last, He killed the one who did not shoot at me.
© Kirill Tolmachev. Translation, 2022