I'M An Angel

I’ve stopped drinking.
I love my wife.
My own wife- I insist on this.
Living so like an angel,
I almost quote Shchipachev.
This is a shriveled life.
I’ve shut my eyes to all other women.
My shoulders feel peculiar.
Aha! Wings must be sprouting!
This makes me anxious. Moody.
And the wings keep sprouting-what a nuisance!
How awkward!
Now I’ll have to slit
my jacket in appropriate places.
A true angel,
I bear life no grudge
for all its cruel hurts.
I’m a true angel. But I still smoke.
I’m the smoking type.
To be an angel is strange work.
Pure spirit. Not an ounce of flesh.
And the women pass by.
A true angel, what good to them am I!
I don’t count for the present,
not while I hold celestial rank,
but-bear in mind-in this life,
a fallen angel is the worst devil of all!


Translated by George Reavey

by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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