Vox Populi

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Nina Kossman: Three Poems About a Head (3)


When you lose your head from love for your son,

look for it everywhere,

pull it to you by its hair,

put it back on your neck,

glue it back in place with whatever you can find.

Here it is, where it belongs, your head.

You need it more than your son does.

Frankly, he does not need it at all,

just as he does not need you.

Only you need you. Live for yourself.

And all those thoughts – what a beautiful baby your son was,

and how you carried him in your arms,

and how you taught him to walk,

and how you held his hand,

and how you fed him and held his bottle,

and how you carried him to sleep every night –

forget all that.

Repeat now: live for yourself only.

Let that be your motto,

Repeat it a hundred times.

Yet you keep saying:

“I’ve lost my head for the love of my son,

I cannot find it anywhere!”

Well, then live without it.

Your son is lost to you and it is not your fault;

yes, lost to you forever.

Repeat: forever.

Repeat it until you’re sick to your stomach.

But find that head and stick it back on your neck.

Use nails, glue, spells, powder, whatever works.

…You know, walking around without the head would not be the right thing to do.

Note: these poems were originally written in Russian and translated into English by the poet.

Nina Kossman, born in Moscow, is a poet, memoirist, playwright, translator of Russian poetry, editor, and artist. Currently she lives in New York.

Copyright 2022 poem, artwork and photograph by Nina Kossman.


Unknown by Nina Kossman

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