from Deaf Republic: 16

By Ilya Kaminsky b. 1977 Ilya Kaminsky
Yet I am. I exists. I has
a body,
When I see

my wife’s slender boyish legs
the roof
of my mouth goes dry.

She takes my toe
in her mouth.
Bites lightly.

How do we live on earth, Mosquito?
If I could hear

you what would you say?
Your answer, Mosquito!

Above all, beware
of sadness

on earth we can do
—can’t we?—

what we want.

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 Relationships, Love, Desire

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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