Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

In My Dreams I call – Tatiana Retivov

Jan 8, 2022 | Poetry | 0 comments


Branches dripping with
Red guelder-rose berries.
What are they for?

More bitter than
Mountain ash, to be
Crushed with sugar

And frozen for the flu
Season, only after
The first frost has passed.

Later, in midsummer,
Black elderberry
Succumbs to its fate

As a veritable immune booster,
Gummy this, gummy that.
Anti-oxidants in a concoction.


In my dreams I call
Or try to call you
On some ancient phone
To tell you that
Your vote counted!
The scoundrel is gone.

But I cannot ever
Connect or reach you.
On the screen
An ancient telex
Streams endlessly.
Its cursor – a quixotic

Knight errant. Last
Night Navalny returned
And I tried again to call.
It was an old Motorola,
Not yet smart, its push buttons
Stubbornly slow to deliver.

Lines of text scroll
Aimlessly in search
Of a recipient. I try again
To tell you that Le Putain
Has run amok in his
Underground bunker.

But to no avail, you
Are not to be disturbed.
The silence is numbing.
Still, we connect, muted
We play tag with
Each other in my dreams.

Tatiana Retivov is a Russian-American poet and translator residing in Kyiv, Ukraine where she runs a literary salon and publishes books.  She holds a English Literature from the University of Montana and an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Michigan, where she received an Avery Hopwood Poetry Award for poetry in 1980. She has translated “Brodsky Through the Eyes of his Contemporaries. Vol. I” (ed. by Valentina Polukhina), and “Mandelstam” by Oleg Lekmanov into English.


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