Oct/Nov 2010 Poetry

A Disaster

by Vasyl Holoborodko

translated by Svetlana Lavochkina

A Disaster

For lack of money
my apartment is still unfurnished—
the books are lined up against the wall in piles,
like in a Japanese student's room.

They have been there for so long
that I got used to such an interior,
and can easily find the book I need.

books in their usual places
are a symbol, by definition, of
"something that brings about serenity.")

But if by chance I misplace a book, suddenly,
everything changes—
the height of the pile, and even the other piles:
the interior changes.
It also changes
if I put a garden spade against the wall.
All this changes my whole life:
it takes me so much time to find the book I need
that I can find no more time to look out the window
to admire a blossoming cherry-tree
by the house across the street.
It is impossible to return to the initial state—
I don't know what the order was
in the piles along the wall
before the disaster.
misplaced books are a symbol,
by definition, of
"something that causes anxiety").
Now, where shall I look for my Shevchenko?
Where shall I look for my Sachenko?


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