This coffin’s for you

By Iya Kiva

This coffin’s for you, little boy, don’t be afraid, lie down,
A bullet called life clutched tight in your fist,

We didn’t believe in death, look – the crosses are tinfoil.
Do you hear – all the bell towers tore out their tongues?

We won’t forget you, believe it, believe it, be …
Belief bleeds down the seam inside your sleeve,

Chants, prayers, psalms swell up in a lump in your throat
In the middle of this damned winter all dressed in khaki,

And February, getting the ink, is sobbing.
And the candle drips on the table, burning and burning…


Translated from the Russian by Amelia Glaser and Yuliya Ilchuk, 2014.