Two Poems


Irina Mashinski


                         translated by Maria Bloshteyn





On the Outskirts


The closer to the subway, the noisier and brighter,

the puddles grow wider and shallower,

                                   the streetlamps more pointless

Jupiter rotates swiftly and is hence everchanging,

Saturn, on the other hand, is so light,

give it water, it floats





Poetry fills up drums canisters garbage cans…


Poetry fills up drums canisters garbage cans

lakes bogs artificial reservoirs

ponds up ponds

landslides down slopes

dragging hamlets behind it

from the russet loins

of a volcano

splashes out onto a plateau


or else

a cart with its belly pressed into the ground

its wheels square



a damp forest’s edge

gaining speed

here we go,

               here we go,

                       it’ll be a doozie

the tracks thaw in the sun, walls

shimmer with a tarnished silver la poesie


the word wants to fill itself

and yet it cannot

like a trick glass double-walled

all the way up its throat









Irina Mashinski is a Russian-American poet and essayist, the author of eleven books. She is co-editor, with Robert Chandler and Boris Dralyuk, of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Penguin Classics, 2015).  Her work has been translated into several languages and has appeared in Poetry International, Plume, The World Literature Today, Modern Poetry in Translation, and elsewhere.  Her first book in English, The Naked World, is forthcoming from MadHat Press in April 2022.  Irina Mashinski is online at


Maria Bloshteyn came to Canada from Russia when she was nine.  She received her PhD from Toronto’s York University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.  She is the author of The Making of a Counter-Culture Icon: Henry Miller’s Dostoevsky (University of Toronto Press, 2007), the editor of Russia is Burning: Poems of the Great Patriotic War (Smokestack Books, 2020), and a translator of several books of Russian prose.  Her articles appeared in scholarly and not-so-scholarly journals and her translations have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (2015). 



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