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Two Poems

[We have nothing, dear Lord]

We have nothing, dear Lord.
Nothing has come to us,
Just this spare winter light.
Can we see our faces
There—still-wet, blurred-white
Pigment, as if, risen
From this our earth-prison,
Awaiting judgment’s word?
From the millstones of heaven
Snow-silence spills and spills.
Why must the shallow cup
Of this vale become so full?

[Today, having swigged a half-liter]

Today, having swigged a half-liter
Of lemon vodka with a friend,
I, a vegetable garden crawler,
Take in the light of distant stars.

They are galaxies, I know,
But they seem like turnips to me:
He who sowed them, one day,
Will pull them out by the hair.

Today I saw how a guess
Staggered in the desert air—
Rain sprinkled on the dill
And vouchsafed to me:

I am here to live humbly,
Letting my root into infinity.
I am here to become powerless,
And, without power, become strong.

Dimitri Psurtsev


Number 94 / Fall 2017

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