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Ksenya Marennikova

Tr. Peter Golub



***

arms, embrace
snow, drifting from somewhere far-off
some months before and after
a child, looking forward
and past you
a mother, holding her hand to your pulse
and this is
you know — love — fleeting love

you’re not my style
small stubborn
the entire body eager to say something
and this
message — is still hanging in my inbox


Slaughterhouse

my head is spinning to the right
Vitalik, red-eyed after sex
they fucked him up on the train, held him with the scarf, said
he was getting off easy
living in the inner city, can you imagine.  
forty days haven’t gone by, mom is still with you.  
a sharp knee can split the stomach.
staying on your knees, grabbing your hair, taking one for the team.
think of something, distract yourself,
just look at yourself
otherwise
a cow in the slaughterhouse.

***

I wanted you to dream of me
the head full of elephants in the bedroom
wrap me up in a bundle of diapers
sit me down on a bike
your shoulders, or knees

I know two words: mom, eternal
say something Lenka, lets use our language
or are we dumb, Lenka, going and going
mute

***

he loved and loved her, did not know her
she took him in her mouth with a yawn
dozed when he fucked her
there’s nothing to be done, the floozy lets her life pass by
that is, you stand in her like in the dark
room, call to god as if he were a lift-operator or janitor
she grew absurd, and so he kicked her out
got a dog, a different scent
and they both whined from mutual boredom
bitch you have your own life now
perhaps I should deluge myself in work
with hemorrhoids afflicted watch the cursor
on the screen
she sleeps inside all wet
he wants to give birth
even his blood and stomach ache
all this flops and tumbles from the chest
long evenings
nothing will happen to us
I, with my cruelty
from my point of view I will help you with these words
he fed the dog to the rats
returned, left, did not return for a long time
he tolerated his body, albeit not entirely
fell sick with cancer
cried and cried

***

whose name should I call how should I speak to you
the sky which crawled out of me feet first
you yourself tickled me inside with grass
and where are you, where you at
blowing and sucking boo boo
bottles of holy water
I will enter a thief into your house
the last pensioner, inhaling the smell of Artek
the boy, who takes it in the mouth
accompanies the present century, boo boo he says into the tube
you yourself rest on him, back
he begs you to comeback
beseeches your mercy
sticks up his skinny ass
awaits the prick like a lizard
a foot

***

Anya talks on the phone, Anya speaks softly
With her husband
You don’t understand I can’t some other way
Everything hurts
Ok, as a doctor, You tell me, do I have chance, or not
Ok, as my husband, did You know about this earlier?
Anya talks on the phone, she has leukemia, in Anya’s blood
The devil would feel uneasy
He licks her heart, You
Lick her heart, thinking it’s in her chest, You’re drunk
And it turns out she has a chance, can bear children
Under her skin, God’s work, a sickly thing
Death and phlegm, puke, he cannot consume such an amount
Bad weather, fashionable ultraviolet, hot
Fudge ice-cream
And You lick him, you lick — he is and is not

***

I think — it’s ok, it will go away  
I think — it’s only temporary, it might pass with the blood
the body says — Forward
nobody ever embraced your legs so tenderly
dropped eye drops, shut your eyes
repeated “my dear” the entire trip
dug you into the earth like a young tree
thought of you while jacking off
because you’ll never grow old
you will never leave here
you will lay here, with a mouth full of wires
and ask — let me hold him between my legs for a while
the cacophony in his head, everything’s a racket
and then she takes him into her arms, he laughs
then cries, she
                            will have no one but him.

***

listen, everything that breathes
spreads its legs for you
pistil grabs for the stamen with its mouth
a puddle flops into a shoe and there drowns
a heel breaks the blade of grass
runs through the field
come on, make a run of it, through the field
laughing, breathless, briskly touching
the sea stands, the dumb floozy, what a sea! —
won’t bat an eye when you drown.

bald villages, merry songs
kiss the crown, spit sunflower seeds
won’t get knocked up, you’re so considerate, so kind
stretched, held in the sperm
but the river runs, rustles and sways the jar
inside me my soul flowers in a clear teapot
pocket full of veins
and you with a stone at the bottom.

***

lamium, silverweed
whortleberries, flagroot, chamomile
come on let something pass your throat
I’m beginning to feel you a plum pit in my craw
blood crawls like a river
flying lizards, armored fish
not even those extinct forms
drink, swallow
stinging nettle, hops, quitch grass
rub this root on your temple —
how sweet you smell now

ammonite in the sea, as your mollusk
shrunk over the piano lid, play me a blues variation
their shells are like our house
with us inside
till this day I crawled across the floor
the mouth goes dry after such harmonies
the river carries a bugle and belongs to no one
toss in a coin, and a house rocks —
bury ourselves in grass, though still apart


On Love

on love, because it could keep a secret
to say, hello I’ll cover our house
with a roof made of tea biscuits
in case it leaks we’ll eat it, sitting in a vanilla ride
hello, concerning love everything is otherwise —
hands in your pocket, coins if change is needed
primitive plays, fishing, and cruel eccentricities
I am looking for the bearer of these qualities  
for now, he says, the nag has problems
on love, he says,  listens and weeps loudly
beats with a hoof and barks when she’s in heat
like a starlet — who washes her make up in the river


Ksenya Marennikova

Ksenya Marennikova

Kseniya Marennikova (b. 1981, Kaliningrad) lives in Moscow and is a public relations consultant for the Beeline phone company. In 2004, she was short-listed for the Debut Prize. Her book Received Files was published in 2005. She was a contributing editor for the NLO anthology of Russian poetry Nine Measurements (2004). She was anthologized in An Anthology of Contemporary Russian Women Poets (University of Iowa Press 2005).

 
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