Were the gods jealous and capricious? Were they just
when they condemned my city to the flood?
I can’t recall. All memories turned to rust.
Were we more given to violence and lust,
more full of hubris and obsessed with gold
than others were? And thus, the gods were just?
It is too late. So why wake up the past,
dig for my own and for my city’s faults?
It is too late. All memories turned to rust.
Or maybe not. Under the barnacles and crust
of centuries, the pain we felt, we wrought
retains its edge. Were the gods jealous? Were they just?
The sunken pain is solid. But why trust
the shifting foam of stories still afloat?
I crave oblivion—clean water, free of rust.
Since our destruction, empires rose and fell to dust;
yet we can’t rest, our tale isn’t fully told.
Were the gods jealous and capricious? Were they just?
What stains us red? Isn’t it only rust?
Yana Kane came to the United States as a refugee from the USSR. She holds a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University, and a PhD in Statistics from Cornell University. Having retired after a successful technical career, she is pursuing an MFA in Literary Translation and Poetry at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her recent and upcoming publications include 128 LIT, Allium, American Chordata, EastWest Literary Forum, The Los Angeles Review, Platform Review, RHINO Poetry, and Точка.Зрения/View.Point. View.Point recognized her translations of poetry of witness from Ukraine and Russia as among the "Best of 2022." 128 LIT nominated her translation for the Deep Vellum Best Literary Translations Anthology 2025. Her bilingual poetry book, Kingfisher/Зимородок, was published in 2020.
The Ekphrastic Review
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