A Dark House is Quietly Collapsing

Aleksey Porvin

A dark house is quietly collapsing:
Dove, fly on, don't look over there
where there's nothing to be sensed,
where, laconic and strong,
flat stones jut out of the earth,
that might be the scattered fragments
of a single wall.

I come here looking for a shard
that once glittered resonant and clear
but—nothing underfoot. A window
fell from upstairs, and shattered there.
That's what made you cry out, dove,
all those who follow in your footsteps
will find one thing.

Dove, fly on, don't stop for anything—
even winged steps stumble over the sky
and its pungency dissipates in the distance,
even you—a cry of pain
is shoved down your throat, like those fragments
of a wall that suddenly tumbled
in pitch dark.

translated from the Russian by J. Kates