Poetry: Irina Mashinski’s “A Sketch”

Irina Mashinski

A Sketch

“The Guest” by Azam Atakhanov.

They leave – and then don’t leave,
tawny,  they fall
but pause.  At noon
Jonathan Schwartz says: Here is Sinatra.

They leave
and write their  letters, postcards –
each rusty leaf
alive, et cetera.

They linger, want to stay,
and give a reason – a remark,  a notion,
or, say,  regret,  or
explanation.  For

December comes and nothing to explain

or bear

or let alone to love,
but footsteps on the snow
or radio –

thin threads in cracked air.


About the writer:
Irina Mashinski was born in Moscow. She is co-editor of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Penguin Classics, 2015) and of the Cardinal Points Journal, and co-translator of Lev Ozerov’s Portraits Without Frames (NYRB, 2018). She is the author of ten books of poetry (in Russian). Her first English-language collection, The Naked World, is forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil.

About the artist:
Azam Atakhanov was born in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in 1964. In 1989, he graduated from the Moscow Stroganov College of Arts and Industry. Atakhanov is member of the Moscow Artists Union and an associate professor of academic painting at Moscow State Stroganov University of Arts and Industry. His works are in museum collections in Russia and Tajikistan. Atakhanov is the June 2019 Featured Artist at O:JA&L.

Image: The Guest” by Azam Atakhanov. Oil on canvas. 110 x 170 cm. 2011. By permission.