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Snow glints and softens
a pig’s slaughter.

Mama refuses another
drink, mama
agrees to another drink.

On the wall—a carpet with peonies,
their purple mouths

                                           suck me into sleep.

              I’ve been bedded.
from across the wall,

                                           my lullabies.

Mama says no-no-no
to more drink.

My bed smells of valenky.
Without taking its eyes off me
a cat
licks its gray paw as if sharpening a knife.
Mama yells yes to another drink.

Mama’s breasts are too big to fit into packed morning buses.
There’s uncertainty

                                         I would grow into a real person.

But on a certain day
in Vishnyowka,
a pig

is slaughtered, mama whispers yes
yes yes yes
to more drink,
I’m vanishing into the peonies’ throats,
peonies smell of valenky,

                                                   of pig’s blood

on the snow.



Clock’s hands leave a strange ski track.

New Year in Vishnyowka (a lullaby)

Valzhyna Mort

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George McWhirter

The Jaguar

translated from the Spanish written by
Homero Aridjis