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POLISH ROCKby Serhiy Zhadan, 2002
Falling asleep, she remembered the river –somewhere in the caverns of sleep, where she started to forget his face,the freezing river glistened bronze from its center,although snow covered its current;later old post-war locomotives crawled out of the mist and workers came out in their blue denim overalls.
We wound up on opposite sides of winter,and the announcer’s voice, caught in a random taxireminds youof the eighties when the radiowas full of Polish rock:rock’n’roll -- mechanics in train depots listened to itrock’n’roll flew over the Carpathian Mountains,leaking into the air somewhere near Rava-Ruska;our country is not big enough for us to miss each other,our air space is not vast enoughfor us to listen to different kinds of music.
I think that if a direct link to God existedit would be through the help of warm brown coverscontaining Polish rock recordswith narrow grooves cut by god’s nailson their black fields;you can see his vinyl skin,you can feel his strawberry blood,washing off the dust andwiping the cutswith a sponge soaked in vinegar.
Birds frightened by the windcalm down and assume their placesin the spaces between her heartbeats,without knowing, what she sees in her sleep,or who she is forgetting in the middle of the dry river bottom;her life’s baggage – beauty marks on her skin andtram tickets in her jacket pockets;soon winter will roll from one hill onto the nextand the hot weather will come,when so many things grow from the earth,that the air has to rise up a little higher,to avoid touching the long tall stemsthat grow out of nowhere and stretch towards nowherejust beneath her window.
translated from the Ukrainian by Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps