VISCOUS VERSES - Two Ukrainian Poets

By Victoria Amelina and Oksana Lutsyshyna

October 26, 2020


I break quarantine rules
I sneak down a fire escape
To see spring in the city
I see the spring and this couple
They walk as if they're eighty or maybe ninety
They hold hands and look up
To the stars or blooming magnolias
I stop
Would I be their Joe Black?
Unwittingly breathing Death

Aren't lovers left alive?
I turn around and go back home
The spring belongs to them
Not to me
Not today

—Victoria Amelina, translated from Ukrainian by the author.

Victoria Amelina is a Ukrainian novelist living in Boston. Excerpts from her novels about the city of Lviv have been translated into English and published under the titles "The Fall Syndrome" and "Dom's Dream Kingdom".


and if you must forget me my love

then forget me – don’t touch poison
don’t touch my body with your thought - let it wither
don’t touch my body let the spirit kiss it
don’t touch it with a word or even a breath
let it wither near my real body

and my real body is beyond the fanciful seven seas
and my real body is that which is between us
and in my real body the rivers rush

and my real body has a hundred hearts and eyes
and if you must forget me my love
and if you do touch my body my burden with your thought

let it go as I let you go
let it go into the forever endless

—Oksana Lutsyshyna, translated from Ukrainian by the author and Olena Jennings.

Oksana Lutsyshyna is a Ukrainian poet hailing from Lviv, and currently living in Austin, TX. A collection of her poems in English, Persephone Blues, was recently published by Arrowsmith Press in Medford, MA.