Archangels of Childhood

Freshly painted with watercolors, with colorful rags,
my daughter, her hair wet,
smells of fragrant soap after the shower.
She smells of peanut butter, of archangels of childhood.
She’s in loose pajamas with repeating pictures of a hedgehog and a pony.
It’s such a pleasure to inhale the smell from her little head,
like a genie from an amphora,
to drink her voice, sweet dew from caps of acorns.
Yes, the hungry hogs of the past will gobble all us up,
but never mind, just wake up from your centuries-long sleep,
just rub your nose against her neck.
Here she laughs, like a bird sitting on wires.
I throw her up, and she turns and bends in the air –
a parachute when it opens rebels against the gravity, against the time.
All of us rebel, trying to push ourselves against emptiness,
embracing the moments of happiness, prosperity, disappointment,
as if hugging a kitten,
but the girl in the falling slantwise plane of years
will outlive both the kitten and me,
will dissolve in her own watercolor kingdom,
which is above my head like some sort of a sky.
And I am all down: I am a forest, a cliff that supports her,
a rock she props herself on,
but moves it easily again and again as if it were a chess knight –
and then, all of a sudden,

(translated by Sergey Gerasimov from Russian)

At the End of the Day
Lesson One in Chinese Character/s: a Bilinguacultural Poem about Heart