Alina Dadaeva

translated by Josie von Zitzewitz

Перевернутый мир хрупок —
кинешь камушек — и пойдет кругами.
А кто-то его сапогом.
Нарушится чуткое равновесие,
задрожат неокрепшие крыши,
лиственные погоны.
И — снова чисто.
А по эту сторону темь и ругань.
И тоже — кругом.
Кольцом удавьим,
давным-давно на перст надетым.
Поддеть бы
тоненькую пленку — и раствориться.


Upside down, world is brittle –
throw one pebble, it turns circles.
And then a boot.
Fragile balance shatters.  
Rootless roofs in cheerful dance  
leafy red
Then a clear image again.  
While on this side darkness and curses
go round in circles, too.
Like a ring
that’s been strangling your finger forever.
I’d want to pierce
the flimsy film, dive, dissolve.

Originally published in Zvezda 4, 2011

The work of Alina Dadaeva, born in 1989 in Uzbekistan, has appeared in Russian, Uzbek, Ukrainian and US journals and been translated into English and Armenian. She is now living in Mexico and writing mainly prose.

Josie von Zitzewitz is a scholar and translator specialising in 20th-century Russian poetry. In 2013, she won the Compass Translation Award, followed by a Hawthornden Foundation translation fellowship in 2015. Recently translations have appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation and the award-winning bilingual anthology 100 Poems about Moscow (OGI, 2017).