Olga Braghina – “I don’t see why you must remember 1980s Kyiv”


I don’t see why you must remember 1980s Kyiv

the white walls the sterile windows of the churches

the empty silence the lines of white bandages and fresh asphalt

still hot scorching underdone bitumen

why you must remember the waterless fizzy water vending machine those white celandine meringues

you’ll be forever stuck leafing through old photos here’s one of you just before your birthday

sneaking past the heroes of the revolution past the warm columns of autocracy the symbols of homeland

I don’t see why you must remember Kyiv now no one lives to love the dead or tear apart notebooks

and the cloudy Podol oil Annushka spilled

I don’t see why you must remember who lived in house that was Emperor Nikolаi’s favourite colour

those who told tales to the caretaker and to childhood friends

they didn’t recognise or remember you after all these years

here a democratic life passes under local anaesthetic

something with no name other than why must you remember 1980s Kyiv divided into before and after

folded pages in the spine of Duke Berry’s book of hours

love is restless and unkind it doesn’t end or begin only the burning asphalt

the shortages of potato peelings acorns and tap water

shortages of bath salts cheerful people in the metro

I don’t see why you must remember

Translated by Mark Wingrave
Series edited by Emilia Mirazchiyska

Mark Wingrave is a painter. He is interested in the interplay between translation and ekphrasis. Mark has exhibited internationally and many of his recent exhibitions are dedicated to the visualisation and translation of Russian literature. In particular, he has worked with texts from Nikolai Gogol, Elena Shvarts, and Evgenia Rits. His translations from Russian to English have appeared in Azuria and Soanyway (collaboration with Gala Uzryutova).