By Eugene Dubnov Eugene Dubnov

Translated from the Russian by Anne Stevenson and Eugene Dubnov Read the translator's notes

What is the structure of lips
That take care of sounds,
That can scream loud and long,
That can wait and be silent?
Yesterday I was mastering words
And kissing lips lightly—
Their loving weakness
Now remains on my own
Hardworking lips,
Exacting, as if forever,
My terrible punishment.

Source: Poetry (March 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2012


Eugene Dubnov was born in Tallinn, Estonia, in 1949 and studied psychology at Moscow University before emigrating to the West in 1971 to become a student at the University of London.

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SUBJECT Love, Desire

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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