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          allegro for shooing off the police

          adagio for washing the body

          scherzo for soft laughter and tears

          rondo for covering the body with good earth  

Antigone, dead siblings

are set.

As for the living —

pick me for a sister.

I, too, love a proper funeral.

Drag, Dig and Sisters’ Pop-Up Burial.

Landlady,

I make the rounds of graves

keeping up

my family’s

top-notch properties.

On a torture instrument

called an accordion

I stretch my bones

into fingers of a witch.

My guts have been emptied

like bellows

for the best sound.

Once we settle your brother,

I’ll show your forests

of the unburied dead.

We’ll clean the way only two sisters

can clean a house:

no bones scattered like dirty socks,

no ashes at the bottom of kneecaps.

Why bicker with husbands about dishes

when we’ve got

mountains of skulls to shine?

Labor and retribution we’ll share, not girlie secrets.

Brought up by dolls and monuments,

I have the bearings

of a horse and bitch,

I’m cement in tears.

You can spot my graves from afar,

marble like newborn skin.

Here, history comes to an end

like a movie

with rolling credits of headstones,

with nameless credits of mass graves.

Every ditch, every hill is suspect.

Pick me for a sister, Antigone.

In this suspicious land

I have a bright shovel of a face.

To Antigone, A Dispatch

Valzhyna Mort


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translated from the Ukrainian written by
Natalka Bilotserkivets