Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Valentin Emelin

Photo by Nadi Lindsay on

at first the sound of tearing string
and sunlight candy drops
got scattered
on the tile floor
their touch of polished amber
was smooth like silk
alas I don’t remember
the name
rhymes with a beard
no that’s the face
don’t see it clearly behind the wheel
in that automobile
which drove me secretly
and you behind that doughnut
the one that our twins
could split in two to eat with milk
that time we kept a cow
in spring
my father has returned
from there
we had not dare
wait for him but they were fair
in just two years he was released
but could not bring
to life his might
that’s why
he was let go from the mine
and I recall him saving bread
under the pillow to crunch
it with his broken teeth
at night
at first we had
to move from bed to camping bed
from site to building site
all roads ahead
were open to us and then
and there was cold
and famine
without an end
what I regret
is that your face is gone
in that old photo of your platoon
as if a cigarette
has burned an ash-framed hole
but you returned
from it
and everything was great and soon
but then a gap again
and then we moved
to an apartment 30 square
8th floor
the state indeed did care
my memory’s a rare
guest in my head
I guess I’ve left the gas
to burn
but now I recollect
you gave me them before the wedding
perhaps it’s better to collect
the scattered drops of lollipops
but I’m not fit to put a thread in
this window is dimmed
high time to clean
and leave the pair
of slippers on the sill
they are brand new
and somebody could wear
I should beware
of looking down
but maybe there
I’ll find the shortest way to you


Valentin Yemelin was born in Moscow, Russia. Since 2001 he lives in Norway. Graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Technology (Russia) and Harward University (USA). Works in the Collaborating Center of the UN Environment Program.
Writes poetry in Russian and English. His translations from English, Russian, German, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian were published in the poetry magazines “Interpoezia”, «The Write Launch» (USA), “Vyshgorod” (Estonia), “Emigrant Lira” (Belgium).

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