September was ending by Inna Kabysh, Translated by Katherine E. Young


September was ending – leaving cigarette butts,
apple cores, drifts of leaves. Used to bad news,
I lived. Love always left without saying
goodbye, strolled regally along its way.

I followed it with my eyes. And lived. Expecting
cold, famine, plague, and civil war, and Judgment,
amid collapse, on the doorstep of hell
I lived, never hoping to make it till spring.

I wrote words, I read words, I wrote: in words
I escaped, but as in a child’s game: “One, two, three!”
rang out in me – then nothing saved me: after
each “...three!” I blew myself up from within.

And then collected another self from what
had been. After that – in two words: “I lived”....
Life’s greater than autumn, homeland, love, the word...
Life encrusts everything: that’s why it’s so hard.



Russian poet Inna Kabysh (b. 1963) is the author of six books, most recently Nevesta bez mesta (2008) and Mama myla ramu (2013). In 1996 her book Lichnye trudnosti was awarded the Pushkin Prize of the Alfred Toepfer Fund (Germany); in 2005 she won the Anton Delwig Prize.

Katherine E. Young is the author of Day of the Border Guards, 2014 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize finalist, and translator of Two Poems by Inna Kabysh. Her translations of Xenia Emelyanova and Inna Kabysh won third prize in the Joseph Brodsky-Stephen Spender competitions in 2014 and 2011, respectively. She was named a 2015 Hawthornden Fellow.