The Demon of the Middle of Nowhere

Splashes of gravel from under the bus wheels.

The demon of the middle of nowhere, suntanned and dry like balyk,

flings dice in the empty air,

throws cherry pits, grinning with its toothless gums.

Here is the forest. We get off the bus.

The forest is like a green synthetic sponge

soaked in cucumber soup that's gone bad.

The forest always yells,

especially in autumn.

It screams, wails, shrieks,

like an alarm at a jewelry store that went off.

But the thieves are deaf-and-dumb.

We can hear nothing; we roam among the empty shop windows,

Which are strewn with dry branches, price tags, seals, and threads,

but everything's already been stolen before us;

everything's been lived before us, instead of us.

But if our un-free will

is just a little bit free,

let's chip in, and hire a bus, and speed away to the forest.

Don't take any booze there. The magic of existence

prefers soberness: the crystal dummies of comprehension,

the sweet urine of virgins that was gathered on a full moon.

And the demon of the middle of nowhere

will be waiting for us,

bathing in the dust.

translated by Sergey Gerasimov from Russian

Dmitry Blizniuk is a poet from Ukraine. His most recent poems have appeared in Rattle, The Cincinnati Review, The Nation, Prairie Schooner, Plume, The London Magazine, Guernica, Denver Quarterly, Pleiades 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.