A Silver Fox, Anastasia Kartavtseva

Craig Goodworth, Ecotone Study #1 (graphite and gesso), 2014



Небо расчерчено: метр на метр.
Двор – точно так же…

Свернусь на земле
В ржавеющей клетке.
После снова копать,
Раздирая уставшие лапы о сетку.
После снова хватать за огромные лапы тех,
Кто бросает куски тёмно-красного солнца,
Которые пахнут живыми коровами, козами, курами.
Эти огромные говорят:
“Вот отличная чернобурка.
Только злющая –
Так и хочет цапнуть за пальцы.
Я рычу им в ответ:
“Загрызу! Убегу!”
Эти скалятся…
Так и скатывается день.
У забора лысеет дерево.
На его плешивую голову сыпется пепел.
Огромные точат нож,
Меня загоняют в угол обледеневшей клетки.

Рычу и кусаюсь – бéз толку.
Держат за лапы,
завязывают пасть,
режут наживо,
обдирают мех.
Горячо и холодно.
А они смеются:
“Не такая резвая,
если голая?”
И кидают в кучу с другими отходами:
Уже не чёрными и не рыжими.

А я выжила.
Учусь одеваться в тряпки,
Учусь не кусаться и не рычать.
И никто не догадывается будто:
“Девушка, посмотрите, какая шубка!
Отличная чернобурка!
Покупайте. Сидит, как влитая!”
Медленно касаюсь
потрескавшимися пальцами меха,
Набираюсь смелости:


A silver fox

(Translated by Sergey Gerasimov from Russian)

The sky is pieced into squares: three feet by three.
As well as the yard.
I’ll curl up on the ground,
in the rusty cage,
and take a rest
before starting to dig again.
Before scratching the tired paws against the mesh.
And then again, I’ll bite the huge paws of those
who throw to me pieces of dark-red sun,
which smell of living cows, goats, and hens.
Those big ones say,
“This is a great silver fox,
but so vicious –
always wants to bite your fingers off. Wow!”
And I growl in answer, “Gonna tear you to pieces and run!”
They just grin.
The day is rolling down.
Another day.
And another.
The tree at the fence has grown bald.
Ashes rain down on its exposed head.
The big ones sharpen their knife,
Then they corner me in the cage
frosted all over.
I snarl and I bite, but it’s no use.
They hold my paws,
tie my jaws,
they cut  alive,
stripping off the fur.
It’s hot and it’s cold,
and they laugh,
“You’re not so frisky when naked, are you?”
and throw me onto the heap of other scraps
neither black nor red already.

But I survived.
Learned to wear clothes,
learned not to snarl, not to bite.
No one guesses. They say,
“Look, what a coat!
A great silver fox! Take it.
Sits on you like a glove!”
My cracked fingers
slowly touch the fur.
I work up the courage
and buy it…

Anastasia Kartavtseva


Review by Jared Pearce

The parallels between the captive animal and human stuck in society are wonderfully drawn here.  I especially like how straightforward the images run in showing the relationship between the captors and their victim.  The disallowing of ambiguity makes the injustice, the violence, all the more compelling.


Review by John Morrison

Such power in the voice of this poem as it inhabits the animal and then the animal poses as human. Unflinching with the striking, grisly image, the speaker describes the captivity and time via seasons from the now safe distance of past tense. Interestingly, the danger enters the poem in, for me, an ambiguous last stanza where the fox either becomes another cruel human or becomes fox again. Marvelous layers, satisfying complexity.


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