[Originally published in Pod znamenem radosti, 1998]
Sveta, you are a witch,
darting no sly come-hither stares,
still fewer bold geh' unten dares,
but only humid, earthen glances
concocted out of dew, and pitch.
Before you there was nothing,
only bluest sky, and bluer sea,
'til you took me to the night-dark forest,
at sea and sky's black boundary.
We came into a backward place,
God's other creation, life's travesty.
We were welcomed by a viscous race.
'Twixt plant and brute, not flesh nor leaf,
they bade us stay in their rotten fief.
And how the elegant stink-horn stunk,
as the velvety earth tongues lapped!
Let us lie in the humus, you said, just to nap.
And bearded tooth, and hairy parchment,
beamed with joy, in stalk and cap.
What else could I expect from life?
To slink like Grendel back to my mother,
and die where I was born?
Under the sea, a thermal vent my wet-nurse,
and sundry invertebrates the succession of my sitters.
The future lay on the forest floor,
among the mushrooms, your natural kin,
the smiling greeters at death's door,
whose form is just congealed sin;
whose love would gently guide me in.
(Kola Peninsula, 1997)