Walking like a camel
a traveler throws up dust, draws near.
Eyes of different colors,
hand carved from wood.
A dead viper at his breast,
a rope with fangs.
A horse felled in the road.
Fragile as a twig,
a skeleton. Waves of a sandy pelt.
Your name? say the word out loud.
A furrowed face. The angle of the sun shifts.
Paper-thin skin translucent,
letters shine through the forehead.
Translated from the Russian by J. Katz
From the book “Paper-Thin Skin,” Zephyr Press, 2019