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Poems
SELF-PORTRAIT
AL (1991 / )

SELF-PORTRAIT

Unshaven and thin, with an angular face
He's lain on my mattress
for several days.
A cast-iron shadow hangs down the stair,
the lips, huge and bulging, smuggle and flare.

'Hello, Russian poets, - his voice sounds wistful -
shall I give you a razor or, maybe, a pistol?
Are you a genius? Disdain all this chaos...
Or, p'rhaps, you will say your confessional prayers?
Or take a newspaper, clip out a bar
and roll self-reproach like you roll a cigar?'

Why is he cuddling you when I'm there?
Why is he trying my scarf on? How dare?
He's squinting at my cigarettes... Oh yes!

Keep off me! Keep off!
SOS! SOS!

Alec Vagapov's translation

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