Neighbour

Shamshad Abdulaev
Translated from the Russian by Valzhyna Mort

Last year our old asthmatic went mad.
He sits on the balcony. A flower,
he knows only what touches him. A shriek
only his throat comes alive, and blood traps
his eyeballs. Whos inside him now? What
ingenious mind pushes his ill cough
into a bloodless street? His face shrinks
to a dry clot, smaller and smaller, almost gone
into another reality. Why does he scream whose foot
presses harder and harder on his
soul? Whose force pulls him out of an ancient well
and throws him back on the bottom of that vertical tunnel? His hands
meet but do not embrace,
his knuckles moan. When hes better,
he is
a bird in its nest.

 

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