By Vladimir Gandelsman
A springtime day – May holidays, I guess –
long fallen into my well of winter memories,
like many others – into marine binoculars;
a typical Leningrad day. Some Navy captain
drops by, a little buzzed, in full dress uniform –
one of Mom’s coworkers, if I had to guess,
and gives her a big book, and signs it, too.
O, mother’s pride and joy for years to come,
that book about minesweepers and frigates,
destroyers, amphibious ships, and heavy cruisers.
O, sky-blue sky, you are a great war novel.
O, the beheaded sun. What festive boredom:
to be a child, to watch without suspicion
those who allow themselves – while you are in the room –
a little more than is appropriate for friends,
caring for nearly nothing, or, more accurately,
for what you will ascribe to them someday,
when you reverse your waterproof binoculars.
Translated by Olga Livshin