Archangels of Childhood

Back to Issue 13

Freshly painted with watercolors, with colorful rags,
my daughter, her hair wet,
smells of fragrant soap after shower.
She’s in loose pajamas
with repeating pictures of a hedgehog and a pony,
archangels of childhood.
It’s such a pleasure to inhale the smell from her little head,
like a genie from an amphora,
to drink her voice, sweet dew from caps of acorns.
Yes, the hungry hogs of the past will gobble all us up,
but never mind, just wake up from your centuries-long sleep,
just rub your nose against her neck. She smells of peanut butter.
Here she laughs, like a bird sitting on wires.
I toss her up, and she turns and bends in the air—
a parachute when it opens rebels against the gravity, against the time.
All of us rebel, trying to push ourselves against emptiness,
embracing the moments of happiness, prosperity, disappointment,
as if hugging a kitten,
but the girl in the falling slantwise plane of years
will outlive both the kitten and me,
will dissolve in her own watercolor kingdom,
which is above my head like some sort of a sky.
And I am all down. I am a forest, a cliff that supports her,
a rock she props herself on,
but moves it easily again and again as if it were a chess knight—
and then, all of a sudden, stillness. 

Dmitry Blizniuk
(translated by Sergey Gerasimov from Russian)

Dmitry Blizniuk ( is a poet from Ukraine. His most recent poems have appeared in Rattle, The London Magazine,, Pleiades, Another Chicago Magazine, Eurolitkrant, Poet Lore, NDQ, The Pinch, New Mexico Review, The Ilanot Review, National Translation Month, EastWest Literary Forum, and many others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is also the author of The Red Fоrest (Fowlpox Press, 2018). His poems have been awarded RHINO 2022 Translation Prize. He lives in Kharkov, Ukraine.