Razminovenie, or Nonmeeting
Though I dream all the time of union, cold air
aerated by air, coursing water saturated by water,
I’ll imagine never meeting you, my imaginary love.
Perhaps you are in the apartment above mine,
hooked up with my neighbor, cursing softly, and I wish
you could read, here, the entry of your voice: fuck.
Perhaps you are not so near in time and space.
On a planet dried of air or water you survive
by reciting poetry from memory, a line of verse—
you’re exerting a force equal to the earth’s—
a capsule taken, paradoxically, by spitting it out.
This is not so ridiculous as some may think,
for didn’t Tsvetaeva and Pasternak live like this,
not on one planet, but on two hurtling asteroids.
We have nothing, Marina wrote Boris, except words.
A poet’s boast, carried by neither air nor water.
But, oh, we can live for months by howling
the medial syllable of razminovenie: no.
The poem was inspired by Rachel Polonsky's book review in the TLS.