from Deaf Republic: 15

By Ilya Kaminsky b. 1977 Ilya Kaminsky
Motionless forgetful music of women and men
touching each forehead, breathing a soul into each immeasurable other,
on earth where we are, stranger, through madness unattainable
or grace, in difficult traffic reaching for each immeasurable other:

no one on earth (O bitterness, O desire,—who commands the ships?—
or, who—) touching the Lord’s shoulder, and breathing a soul, has measured

this motionless forgetful music of women and men. Thus
I (behind the eye what sleeps?) must from the blind borrow this light.

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).

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

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 Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Unrequited Love, Heartache & Loss

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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