from Deaf Republic: 3

By Ilya Kaminsky b. 1977 Ilya Kaminsky

Don’t forget this: Men who live in this time remember the price of each bottle of vodka. Sunlight on the canal outside the train-station. With the neighbor’s ladder, my brother Tony “Mosquito” and I climb the poplar in the public garden with one and a half bottles of vodka and we drink there all night. Sunlight on a young girl’s face, asleep on the church steps. Tony recites poems, forgets I cannot hear. I watch the sunlight in the rearview mirror of trolleys as they pass.

Don’t forget this. There sat in the poplar two brothers, the barber and podiatrist, in love with the same woman. They drank there and recited each poem they knew. Not a soul noticed: notasoul.

NOTES: These poems are from the unfinished manuscript Deaf Republic. This story of a pregnant woman and her husband living during an epidemic of deafness and civil unrest was found beneath the floorboards in a house in Eastern Europe. Several versions of the manuscript exist.—IK

Source: Poetry (May 2009).

 Ilya  Kaminsky

Biography

Poet Ilya Kaminsky was born in the former Soviet Union city of Odessa. He lost most of his hearing at the age of four after a doctor misdiagnosed mumps as a cold, and his family was granted political asylum by the United States in 1993, settling in Rochester, New York. After his father’s death in 1994, Kaminsky began to write poems in English. He explained in an interview with the Adirondack Review, “I chose English because no . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness, Relationships, Love, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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