[hard to be a road]; [like a foot in a shoe]

Volha Hapeyeva

Translated from Belarusian by Volha Hapeyeva with Forrest Gander

[hard to be a road]

hard to be a road
especially at the painted zebra
the hOriZOntal
the VErticAl
rush people together and cars
animals sometimes
dogs and pigeons
and bicycles—the new and the ones inherited from those born in the ’30s
as a child
I often confused the horizontal with the vertical
and each time I uttered those words
I imagined a horizon
the horizon, such a long narrow line
in the distance
behind which just now just now the sea
is about to appear
as I, the road,

[like a foot in a shoe]

like a foot in a shoe
                     not yet broken in
my heart clenches and if
it’s not about size
then what?
wine, coffee, beer, maybe tea
such a sononymy, daughternomy and childnessness
and infants out of wedlock
                    —they’re not mine
I can’t move
(so apt that “m” and “l”
               are buddies on the keyboard—
much closer than we are)
and the gallows
                suggested by parked cranes:
I hang my desolation on them
day after day
while you deal with yours in a gulp.
In some unpeopled park 
during my lunch break, I’ll torture my grief
but not even my lost earring will reveal
that the criminal is

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