Speaking In Tongues
Scribbling In Voices

Boris Slootsky

Translated by Alex Sitnitsky


* * *

I had an apartment with a separate entry
Which made it possible — to sneak inside.
I was a bachelor at the very center
Of my friends’ attention and of desperate brides.
My buddies were gathering in the small apartments
With mothers-in-low, skinny or fat,
Like their wives, their eternal partners,
Always annoying like an unfeasible threat.
But they were fond of those decent women
And tried to force me to do the same:
To lose my freedom, my sexual vim and
To spend whole life under tiresome rain.
And here is a secret I bitterly own —
They admired the girls with young, sleek hands.
They enjoyed their eyes, like wells, where a stone
Might drown forever... Banality. Hence
I became very squeamish, as you might hear,
Made no further inquiries not leave them abused.
They asked for the key in utter despair.
They asked for the key. I did not refuse.