My Buddhas arranged
so that now they face the wall,
their backs to me.
I sit before them like this,
no illusions anymore.
What if all possible
pain was only the grief of truth?
The throb lingering
only in the exit wounds?
— Brenda Shaughnessy, from “All Possible Pain” in Our Andromeda
Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.
Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
So today I tried to write again
about the most important things—the enormous sun
rising beyond the smokestacks.
The crimes of the entire nation.
And the twisted throat of a song bird
accomplishing its daily heroics during an argument.
But I couldn’t get a line by Elena Shwarts out of my head:
the heart is like a punching bag,
pounded from the inside.
—Anzhelina Polonskaya, “Today” (translated by Andrew Wachtel)