Mussel

Ihor Pavlyuk

The sea bears, in the rosy flesh of this mussel,
My anguish, scalloped as a wave,
Foam-crested. I am full to the brim
With the memory of cuckoos,

The lament of the breeze in a field in Volhyn.
The sea has not permeated me with salt in vain,
For I will preserve within myself
Perspectives, sadness, that which does not exist.

What is there that is worth dying for?
The voice of a gull warms itself in the boat,
We near the sun-bleached rock, the water
Wrinkles its forehead in righteous anger,

The wind languishes in its own enchantment.
The mussel lies on my table filled with the whisper
Of distant tides. The ships

Drift through me, transparent
As a film of anguish over someone's eyes.


translated from the Ukrainian by Steve Komarnyckyj