from Deaf Republic: 6

By Ilya Kaminsky b. 1977 Ilya Kaminsky
Through Vasenka: a herd of boys runs. With their icy hands they haul a policeman and for an apple a look they display the man on the asphalt. Snow falls in his nostrils. I watch him. They circle his eyes with a red pencil. They teach his neighbors to spit in two red holes. I watch the snowflakes melt in their hair. The neighbor aims in the red circle, spits. I stand on a park bench and chew snow. Boys walk west of Tedna, carrying snowflakes in their hair. A neighbor aims in the hole, spits. Walking by night with their arms lifted up from their bodies. As if they were about to leave the earth. And were trying out the wind.

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).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2009
 Ilya  Kaminsky


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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SUBJECT Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

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