A muse inspires when she comes.
A wife inspires when she leaves.
A mistress inspires when she does not come.
Shall I do all of that at one and the same time?
* * *
and there was light
in my belly
and I closed my eyes
not to blind you
and I covered my face
and you saw
that for me
it was good
* * *
Last will is a plan of a life done with.
At my funeral I do not want to hear
Rakhmaninov’s Prelude in C-minor,
nor Bethoven’s allegretto from the Seventh,
nor anything from my beloved Chaikovsky.
I want Mozart’s piano concerto in A-major,
Mahler’s adagietto from the Fifth, and Bruckner’s
Ninth, third movement. But the choice is yours:
weepers choose the music.
—Translated from the Russian by Steven Seymour