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It was the summer some rank fever weed

sunk her bitch hooks in, sowed my skin

to itch and ooze, that we shared a bed

for the first time. It's not so bad,

you said, looking for a clean place

to put your hands while I stuck to the sheets

and stunk up the room with creams

and salves. You didn't cringe,

(though in those days my back was often turned)

took your showers at the usual time, rose,

a bank of muscled cloud above

my poisoned field, and blew cool

across the mess. I said, eyes shining

with antihistamines, that you were potent

as a rare bird sighting, twenty on the sidewalk,

straight flush. It was only falling

into sleep that your body twitched away

from mine, a little more each time

I'd scratch, and I knew then we were made

for each other, that you lie as well as me,

my faithful drug, my perfect match.

Anniversary

Karen Solie

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translated from the Ukrainian written by
Natalka Bilotserkivets