A Poem

by Tanja Maljartschuk

from the forthcoming collection God Will Yet Give Thanks for Such Sins

Translated from the Ukrainian by Zenia Tompkins

do the stooped stoop
do the blind squint
do those who love fall in love
would mothers have borne their mothers
had they the choice
can you stop a war with war
and harvest bees instead of honey
flit from one flower to another
slip into its very core
where the pollen is the most delectable
and that chance barefoot passerby
who doesn’t notice he’s stepping on a bee
can you lodge your stinger deep under his skin
not to avenge your own death
but simply so that he be a bit more attentive in the future
can you construct a tower from books
akin to the one of babel but taller
in order to reach heaven and finally tell god 
that we’re grateful he confused our language
having become strangers to one another
we’ve also come to know the joy of the opponent
we kill but have also learned to save
does wine sober
does water elicit thirst
by way of here can you get there
where movement forward no longer has meaning
can you fall asleep and in your sleep fall asleep again
fall asleep doubly
in order to later likewise
doubly wake up?

Photo cover by Michaela Kostkova

Caitlyn Garcia