Translated by Christina Davis

Raw:  ingrown:  unrest.

Indifferent to me

now, the location

of my wholly aloneness.

Stones that stumble me

home bag-heavy,

a housing as mine as anyone's

ward or fortress.

Indifferent to me also—veldtless

lion—the faces that mow

me down—the human clique

that will cast me

inevitably out:  into

me,  my

lonely motive, a polar

bear minus the ice.

Where I am unfit (and I refuse

to assume their sizes),

where I am lower than anyone,

the rung of my humanhood,

is indifferent to me, as are

the enticements

of my native tongue,

its lactose lure. What does it matter

in what language I am

mistaken by anyone? (Or the unmeetable

readers, mouthers of headlines,

rumor-mongers). They are at home

in the twentieth century,

but I am prior

to time, a log left in the axed

avenue of trees. Indistinguishable

now, the people—

their brand of sameness,

and most indifferent of all—

these names wrenched

from their nativity, the vital

dates erased. It seems

the soul is never

born in time, but only in place.

But my country so unmothered me

that the keenest spy

could eye me over and find

no native taint.

Houses maroon me. Temples empty.

My only refuge is in-

difference. But if, off the beaten,

there crept the red:  original:

rowanberry. . . .

—translated from the Russian by Christina Davis

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