Every time
my sister repeats angrily
what my mother says subtly

Who am I to say
that it is my fault
our sleeping angles are all wrong?

Everyday, the first words
which greet me in the bedroom:
“What is for today?”
Often, these are
the last words spoken.

As prostitution’s pointing finger
stretches from the million shining stars
Counsels come afloat
on nights that shudder.

The pathetic mewing of a cat
unable to feed its young
grips my insides
as it were a child’s sob.

Even you may have complaints.

My position has been clarified
through time and history.

To receive from you a little love
however muddled
to fulfil my responsibility
as your child’s mother

To receive from the outside world
sanitary napkins and contraceptives

To receive a little help here and there
and, if I can
command you just a little
affirm just a little
my authority
in full knowledge of everything
I open my legs out

– Salma. Contract

translated by V. Geetha and S.V. Rajadurai

_

I love you, miracle of Peter’s,
your stern and graceful countenance,
the broad Nevá’s imperious waters,
the granite blocks that line your banks,
the railings in cast-iron muster,
the melancholy of your nights,
transparent twilight, moonless lustre,
when, in my room, I use no lights
to write and read, when massed facades
and sleeping empty boulevards
are clear to see, and all afire
glitters the admiralty’s spire,
and, not permitting night to smother
the golden skies, there rushes through
a new dawn to replace the other,
and night gets half-an-hour’s due.

– Alexander Pushkin. excerpt from The Bronze Horseman: A Petersburg Tale

translated by Stanley Mitchell

_

The Brain – is wider than the Sky –
For – put them side by side –
The one the other will contain
With ease – and You – beside –

The Brain is deeper than the sea –
For – hold them – Blue to Blue –
The one the other will absorb –
As Sponges – Buckets – do –

The Brain is just the weight of God –
For – Heft them – Pound for Pound –
And they will differ – if they do –
As Syllable from Sound –

– Emily Dickinson. The Brain – is wider than the Sky

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