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Redacted Dispatches from Kiev on the Banks of the Black Sea to a Brother-in-Law
Trina Gaynon

1) Unthinkable 

Lonely? Listen 

to the silence 

so large and bright. 

Dreaming of time, 

dying from thought, 

I could explain 

such emptiness. 

I admit to you 

nothing but tears 

make me happy. 


2) No Light 

You can’t help me. 

My soul will be 

at peace, if I 

forget everything. 

I have not slept. 

Undressed, I want 

to inform you 

nobody needs me. 

Dying, dearest, 

destroys my need. 


3) Uninterrupted 

Troubles flowed. 

I closed my eyes, 

a martyr of 

the words brothel 

and streetwalker. 


I was depressed. 


about how to 

cook fish– awful? 


4) Belle-soeur 

How mean you are. 

Tired, waiting, 

my heart begins 

to hurt, my arm 

goes numb. Write me. 


5) My Fate 

I’m going to 

marry a friend 

whether or not 

your letters bring 

me poetry. 

I envy you. 

I’m not writing. 

My soul adjoins 

the dark image 

of Cassandra. 


6) Finished 

That insanely 


spell– passionate, 


abandons me. 


7) Boundless 

Never, never 

forget the way 

his serene gaze 

can’t be expressed 

in one vulgar 

commonplace poem 


to walks we took. 

I submit to 

holy ambles. 


8) Desire for Petersburg 

Ashamed of my 

uncouthness, I 

know nothing but 

crude, dirty towns, 

quickly passing 

genius to live 

out of my soul. 

You understand. 

This surprises me 

and all in vain. 


9) Lost Sister 

Writing in my 


condition, I 

request– send me, 

in memory 

of her honor, 

her bracelet, 

not a keepsake 

that I don’t want. 

We were once friends. 

I have not changed. 


Erasures from Letters to Sergei Von Stein, My Half-Century, Selected Prose, Anna Akhamatova, trans. by Ronald Meyer. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1997. 

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