1. Home
  2. Poetry Magazine
  3. Poems
  4. from Deaf Republic: 4 by Ilya Kaminsky
from Deaf Republic: 4

Related Poem Content Details

“You must speak not only of great devastation
but of women kissing in the yellow grass!”

I heard this not from a great philosopher
but from my brother Tony

who could do four haircuts in thirteen minutes,
his eyes closed, reciting our National Anthem to the mirror.

“You must drink cucumber vodka and naked sing all night
Unite women and boys of the Earth!”

He played the accordion out of tune in a country
where the only musical instrument is the door.

“Speak not only of great devastation”
so said my brother, who could not write or read

but spent his days covered in other people’s hair.

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)

More from this issue

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

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

from Deaf Republic: 4

Related Poem Content Details

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Other Information