Aphelion Issue 268, Volume 25
December 2021
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Don't be sad, Chrysostom

by Dmitry Blizniuk
translated from Russian by Sergey Gerasimov

Rural silence is a thick sandwich with butter
Generously sprinkled with the sugar of meadow dragonflies.
Nothing's going to happen here in this century.
No one's waiting for you in the Future Simple.
When the reddish, high in hemoglobin, blueness of the evening sweeps over you,
Carnivorous stars start moving their nippers.
They are real and terrible here;
They are not sick city animals muzzled with smog.
You can gnaw on the candied nuts of constellations if you like.
The moon is screwed up to the skies for centuries
Like a basketball hoop,
But an eagle-owl flies too high for a three-point shot.
A couple eat each other under a dark window:
The skin of the stumpy, thick-braided girl
Is covered in moon dust, which tastes of unwashed soap.
The kisses are rough and greedy sweet and sickly, like Turkish delight.
Such an intoxicating stability reigns around
That you can hardly tell day from night.
And during the daytime, the whole landscape, no matter which way you look,
Is a blue gauzy scarf with a sparrow that got caught in it.
A goat rests on the roof of an old kennel.
A proud rooster strolls around the yard, its comb sticking out like a naked brain.
At nights a persistent moth
Bangs its head against the illuminated glass
Like a loony angel in a motorbike helmet.

Revolutionaries hibernate like frogs here.
Here there's no sense in saving up for a vacation in Egypt.
Here everything obeys the theorem of Rip Van Winkle.
Everything is misty with drowsiness.
In the evenings you are drunk with songs of crickets—
They're strong like pure alcohol—
At dawn, the huts try on rains
Like female goblins that try on necklaces.
Your dreams haven't come true. So what?
Have angels on motorbikes sped away from you,
Leaving you with a backpack on a dirt road?

Don't be sad, Chrysostom,
You're nothing more than a man sketched on a school blackboard.
And you're being wiped off from down up.
Your trunk made of chalk is still seen,
But your elbow's dissolving in the wetness under the sponge.
The highest heights are not conquered.
The silence is as unassailable as ever.
The bout of growing up is dragging on.
The flat tires of your bike stir the warm dust.
The life is passing by, pushing you to the roaring edge.
God allowed you to dream,
To sit for a while behind the wheel of the limo of the world.
Then He threw you like a puppy onto the back seat,
And jabbed the key of dawn into the ignition…

© 2021 Dmitry Blizniuk

Find more by Dmitry Blizniuk in the Author Index.