Ekaterina Derisheva

Ekaterina Derisheva’s “in the ‘war’ mode” and “Houses Discuss” translated by Tatiana Retivov
May 27, 2022 Derisheva Ekaterina

Ekaterina Derisheva translated from Russian by Tatiana Retivov


“in the ‘war’ mode”


while they sort out who helped more
and in what language one should speak
where to publish one’s poems
what literary awards to compete for
while they offend and take offense
and write poems from abroad
the inhabitants hide from artillery fire
learn how to count again
one two three four five


the neon sign on the building
across the street
is reminiscent
of a concentration camp projector
causing you
to want to smash
the first thing you see
[it violates blackout rules] **


a few days in the “war” mode
you turn to stone it seems
no longer fearing artillery fire
the shaking house
you fall asleep to the news
of yet another explosion


you just want to take a warm shower
stretch your legs
sleep the whole night in your bed
instead you lie between the sashes
of bathtub and blanket
as if you were a scallop or oyster
though I be no pearl


the tiny bathtub
reminds you of the doll box
in the series “Embrace of Lies”
in which the mother
as an overprotective parent
would close her daughter up in a box
and you just want to say: world,
I was good, I behaved myself
open up, please


while it is being decided which language
will be the leading one in literature
they go bonkers on the other end of the line
trying to reach God by phone
or anyone for that matter for hours
hello hello hello


you’re alive while you keep your wits about you
don’t dissolve into a fibrous root system
yet on the floors above
people out of control
are laughing chanting soviet songs
and someone calls again “hello”



В режиме “война”


пока выясняют кто больше помог
на каком языке говорить
где можно опубликовать стихи
и в какой премии поучаствовать
пока обижают и обижаются
и пишут стихи извне
обыватели прячутся от залпов
учатся считать заново
раз два три четыре пять


вывеска в доме напротив
напоминает прожектор концлагеря
что хочется разбить
первым что попадётся под руку
[нарушает светомаскировку]


пару дней в режиме ”война”
кажется каменеешь
не боишься залпов
дрожания дома
засыпаешь под новости об очередном взрыве


хочется просто принять тёплый душ
вытянуть ноги
проспать целую ночь в постели
лежишь между створками ванны и одеяла
будто гребешок или устрица
только я не жемчужина


крохотная ванна
напоминает коробку для кукол
в фильме “Объятья лжи”
где мать
страдающая гиперопекой
закрывала дочь в коробке
так и хочется сказать: мир,
я хорошая, я хорошо себя вела
открой, пожалуйста


пока выясняют какой язык будет главным в литературе
на той линии провода сходят с ума
пытаясь дозвониться к Богу
или к кому ещё можно часами
алло алло алло


жив пока держишь себя в кулачке
не расходишься на мочковатую корневую систему
этажами выше
люди вышедшие из себя
смеются скандируют советские песни
и кто-то снова звонит ”алло”



Houses Discuss


houses discuss with each other
where the projectile exploded
and the glass lenses
were blown to shreds
only natural light remains
and air instead of food and water


houses would have wanted
to become giants
go to a quiet place
but there is none
and each house while being destroyed
climbs higher and higher along
the twisted threads of clouds.


**In Kharkiv, during martial law everyone was required keep the lights off after 6:00 p.m., so that the houses wouldn’t serve as lures for projectiles.
I would leave the bathroom only on rare occasions during the day. At night I cooked in total darkness, while on the house across the street there was a flashing billboard advertisement for a notary public office, with a creeping line.
At some point it was permitted to smash the flashing neon signs because they were in violation of blackout rules. Some of the signs were smashed this way; in other cases, the owners managed to turn off the lighting.



дома говорят друг с другом
где разорвался снаряд
и разбились фасеточные линзы
остаётся лишь естественный свет
из воды и еды – воздух


хотели бы стать великанами
уйти в тихое место
но его нет
и каждый из них разрушаясь
поднимается выше и выше
по скрученным облачным нитям


Ekaterina Derisheva was born in 1994 in Melitopol, Ukraine. In 2014, she graduated from the Zaporozhe National Ukrainian college of Economics and Law, specializing in the development of computer programming. She is the author of the book tochka otscheta (2018).She has published in the literary journals “Litcentr,” “Tlen Literacki,” “Wizje,” “SoFloPoJo,” “Dvoetochie,” “Лиterraтура,” “Artikulyaciya,” “Noviy bereg,” “Arion,” “Homo legens,” “Khreshchatyk,” and in the anthology Timpul pământului. Derisheva has participated in literary festivals in Belarus and Moldova (2016, 2017), as well as in Kyiv “Kievskiye Lavry” (2017), and took part in the convention of young writers of Ukraine (2013). She was long listed for the Arkady Dragomoshchenko Prize (2019), and her poems have been translated into English, German, Polish, Romanian and Vietnamese. Curator and founder of the “KNTXT” project (festival, book series, literary magazine), Kharkiv.Derisheva lived in Kharkiv, but currently is a war refugee residing in Feldafing, Germany.