dead leaves

At opening of September it appears

there’s twice as many leaves as there had been

in the last week of August: they increase

with every day and hour, and so pile up

upon one’s path like red and yellow snowdrifts…

Over there was a passage through the greenery

not so long ago since where by the hand I led

a girl companion with a high clear forehead

(we had to stoop a little as we went

so as not to brush against the branches).

And now there are two bushes of some kind there,

lawn as well—with no concealment, nor

mystery, nor thrill, nor taking risks

where the way out is unpredictable.

Just like a gardener with a saw, life amputates

the branches of the years and opens up

the empty spaces where dogs frisk about,

and pigeons strut, and children play their games,

and where no trace remains of our past selves.


Translated from Russian by John Heath-Stubbs with the author.