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Russian movie poster, detail.

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Tatyana Moseeva

Tr. Peter Golub


Lena after 1:18 of playing time
against Nastya thanks her
parents, trainer, sponsors,
the organizers, the fans,
next year
I plan to work on my serve.

Nastya after 1:18 of playing time
against Lena thanks her
parents, trainer, sponsors,
fans, and now let us have
a minute of silence
for the children, for in September (she trips)
we cannot forget, silence please (weeping)

I love Nastya. I could give a rat’s ass about her serve.


yet another one for S. Lvovsky

you get out of the bath still wet
across the cold floor flop flop
to the dry towel in the other room

and you touch your forehead
so familiar and recognizable
to say: well yeah, she’s still all wound up
exactly, wound up

remember Leibniz’s formula
forget if there’s any bread left
finger hurts, healing in this Thursday
tomorrow Friday

towel with the bunny flop flop not a bad
the cut will close

so will winter


I remembered the example but not the principle
look, how the wind swings the door
how the curtain pirouettes

and the law was forgotten
something like “until you peered at the thing,
you will not understand it”
or “you won’t know a damn unless you’ve tried it”
I remember the general details

this is how authority is gained
one needs no tie or brass knuckles
nor entrance into NATO
one does not need it

winter riding in the taxi
don’t know, when to say stop, um, I need to go

Deyneka’s Dream

I wake up with a sense of failure.
— J. Stenilovskaya, Zeno’s Dream

The scolding sun
On the veranda sleeps the painter Deyneka
Dreaming of is models:
Ivan, Andrew, Nickolas, Eugene
Ivan kisses his hand, Andrew kisses his neck
Nickolas kisses his soft belly
Eugene eagerly goes for the mouth
The painter wakes up and strokes
His warm palm with a cool brush — this is Ivan
With a strong hand he clenches his own throat — this is Andrew
On his stomach — Nickolas plants
One on his lips — Eugene’s bright purple drool.
I wake up and search for some escape

Crimean Sojourn to the Movies

susan sarandon — from the family felidae — doesn’t like to cry — and never cries

we aren’t let into the movies — but they write, that it’ll be fun — in the same green chairs — like it was 40 years ago

the church on the bank: — din-dong din-dong — susan saran-din-dong — somewhere london-din-dong — and the same rain

if the rain was a wall — like the berlin one for instance — the one that cut the world in half — and the world would divide — macerating like a polymer

blah what a bunch of crap, jesus — um what was I on about: wet people aren’t like anyone — dry people are not pals with the wet ones — the dry fall far from the wet — and if you get caught in the rain after the film — it only makes me glad


well hell then what — what hell what then — wax with one hand — leaning with the cheek — rubbing with a leg — she’s a dyed in the wool pioneer — perfect pallor, not a drop of tan — not a gram of conscience — in a shirt, sleeves rolled up — a tie white as her — with a book without letters, like a living

as if dead asking: — “kiss me, moscow girl, — kiss lenin, he lives between my legs

this time didn’t go anywhere — life swung on the swing — more has happened here trust me — lenin lives, I kiss”

that’s how she speaks and conjugates — bends the branches toward me — slips her glance over my figure — asks — about the last rush — and the old nurse takes out the pails — shaking her finger at the eternal floozy


grandmother says into the phone:
by no means are you to be cremated
you were baptized
you are an Orthodox Christian
we have to lay down together, like pees in a pod
mother and son
that’s how Kolya was buried

you cannot trust them, I know this for certain,
they’ll substitute the remains with birch logs
ashes with twigs, incorruptible kindling
and everything altogether, don’t you understand
all together all in one pile, but totally unrelated
they fake the most important thing


in an hour it is possible to invent a hundred ships
in an hour it is possible to make fifty rubles in tips
although it is rather cold and I am shaking
forgive me, but I will never
give birth to your child
one can give a little head, write a sonnet afterwards
it is possible to say your name a thousand times in vain
they draw, I watch them draw
some of them are successful, some not

in an hour one can catch pneumonia
be so kind as to draw pneumonia for me
be so kind as to draw how terrible it is without you at night
when I cough, bent over, spine showing
they draw it


soon sweetie, very soon, after they
finish the tunnel under Serebrany Bor
close all of life’s imagined holes
remodel the Bolshoi
we’ll be happy as mushrooms
warm and wet

I plant an orange seed into the sand
someone passes the ball and I make a three point shot
people hand me money as I walk the streets

I wake up and see a Japanese motorcycle under my window
I make an omelet and it doesn’t stick to the pan


little sacks with little girls
little sacks with apple seeds
out of a seed a little apple tree will grow
out of a little girl a fairy tale

and every third batch has a little boy
but nothing will grow out of him
put him in a basket
ship him by river mail
according to the address on the label
with the receipt from the store

Tatyana Moseeva

Tatyana Moseeva

Tatyana Moseeva (b. 1983, Moscow) works as a copywriter in advertising. She was twice long-listed for the Debut Prize. She has two books of poems, including Snow Men (2005). Translations of her poetry can also be found at Words Without Borders.

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