Oleksandr Kocharyan’s quiet poem of anticipation draws attention to the civilian experience of waiting for the big war. In the words of the translator Anna Lordan, the poem focuses on ‘relationships and intimacy—intimacy with objects, with people, intimacy with people expressed through objects’.
while we were waiting for war
I bought alcohol
a supply of fuel tablets
and a small aluminium kettle.
when we left,
I gathered them up—I didn’t know
whether or not we would need them.
we didn’t need them.
I call my mother.
I listen to her talk about a damaged and burning pipeline
I try to convince her to take
the kettle and the alcohol and the fuel.
she says, what are you talking about
I don’t need them
that pipeline is miles away from here.
[Read in Ukrainian here].
Image: Marjan Blan. Unsplash.