Friday, August 10, 2007

1986-The Year of Reckoning



My pen bleeds tonight Henryk. The open fields of wheat and silence flicker past like surreal shadows as I retrace my steps back to where it all began. Back to that wrinkle in time when death became our constant keeper and its invisible footprints followed us like marked men. Alessandra went first, the child of the abandoned city and the women cried till their charcoaled eyes drew black streaks down their pallid faces. Then Alexei died during our flight to Ukraine and the children of chernobyl knew they were living on borrowed time.

Spring left Pripyat one April twenty years ago. Do you remember that explosion, Henryk and do you remember the bluish white line that seared the air in its quicksilver flight? It was a parched day and a burnt taste of metal enfolded us with the grip of vice. There were people on the road handing out iodine pills and with sharp tensed gestures asked us to stay indoors. But I walked by them not comprehending the ruckus or the presence of masked men washing the city streets. I walked by them watching the blind gypsy cradling the harmonica on the church steps while tracing the rise and fall of the blues with blind sight…

So, I am going back to my home. I think I can see its long winding paths and the wide eyed sunflowers peeping from window sills. Its proud buildings, the Ferris wheel and the pine forests. Maybe the photographs they print in the papers tell lies. Maybe the sad, vacant debris isn’t my land after all. I once met a woman who stared at the picture of an old dusty piano with tawny music sheets … silent tears running down her glassy eyes. 'Фортепьяно моей моего' she wispered to no one in perticular'они играли это на моей свадьбе'

Those were moments when even time hesitated to move on. It seemed to have stopped as the ghost town was evacuated. We were going to Ukraine. My brother, Alexei was dying, his own body betraying him and we could do nothing but watch in horror. The doctors had removed his diseased thyroid tissue and gave him some months to live. How life compels us to dream different dreams. We, who thought there will be time enough for everything, begged a stoic God for a few more minutes of togetherness. But when time finally took its leave, it took away with it familiar faces. . But you know you been tainted when you look at enlarging nodes on a friend’s neck or the handicapped body of your first born.

But hush, while I write such sad lines , the terminus approaches. Без перевода and may God be with you till we meet again.


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2 comments:

Shan B said...

Haunting...

Blabberwocky said...

pretty well thought up, imaginative, & good work with the russian, this style of writing is really your forte... a pleasure to read.