The Last Scoundrel in the World || Dmitry Blizniuk

She examined her hands meticulously
like a bark beetle examines maple branches.
A stone-eating politeness permeated her voice.
As she spoke, the yachts in the bay, their sails folded,
glittered in the sunlight–
splinters in the body of an enormous, blue, fat jellyfish.
Seagulls stirred the emptiness with their heartrending cries,
like a fork stirs milk and eggs to make an omelet.

We stood on the very edge of the summer
I stared through the contour of her face,
through her spider-like moving hair.
The rustle of the waves
licked the collar of the sand giant.
I felt like a mouse trapped in a glass-topped box.
If the sky was the screen of a laptop, it was not
a kind God who looked down at us,
but a gamer’s eyes–rapacious, caffeine-shot,
with unhealthy glitter of the pupils, of the seagulls.
And even her handbag–a dark-green thing–
defied the rules of still-life painting
and looked like a dead lizard on a statue.

The impending parting was the only salvation we had:
A starving vampire
had sucked dry the last scoundrel in the world
and was throwing up in the bathroom
to clear the stomach from the filth.
The waves looked like the serrated blades of bread knives,
and the remote town was composed of loaves.
Cupid, pursing his full lips,
lubricated a crossbow with gun oil
as if he didn’t care,
as if he had nothing to do with us,
and a faraway lighthouse looked angrily around:
A rogue Cyclops suffering from a hangover.


Now I am seeing her for the last time.

Her high cheekbones look like cliffs,
and fragile, noble boys of my glances–
all of them made of glass–
jump down and break against the rocks.
The thin, thin skin is like a living prawn caught in a fist;
the tracery of the sea foam is our shame.
And suddenly I understand
that I’m collecting things, details,
before leaving her world forever.
It always happens
when the movie is over,
and love gives you a farewell slash
with a wolf’s glance, like with a razor
because it doesn’t believe in saying goodbye.

(Translated by Sergey Gerasimov from Russian.)

Dmitry Blizniuk is a poet from Ukraine. His most recent poems have appeared in Rattle, The Nation, The London Magazine, Pleiades, Another Chicago Magazine, Eurolitkrant, Poet Lore, NDQ, The Pinch, New Mexico Review, The Ilanot Review,  National Translation Month, EastWest Literary Forum,  and many others.. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is also the author of The Red Fоrest (Fowlpox Press, 2018). His poems have been awarded RHINO 2022  Translation Prize. He lives in Kharkov, Ukraine.


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