matvei yankelevich

 

NOWN

 

Let us think on a clear day

sitting down on stump and stone

—Alexander Vvedensky

 

. . . so looked the svidrigalia of the night

through which Hnyu hurried, thinking,

and counting stumps in the beating of her heart

—Daniil Kharms

  

Hop hop hop

goes the busy noun

following its chosen object

around like an angry bee, but more

like a frightened rabbit

running away from the buzz

of saws in the woods

 

where every tree stands up before

if falls down and when it falls

down one can trace the arc of the fall,

so it’s not really falling down

but across the sky of the forest,

so the rabbit hops in an arc

and the saw spins on in circles

and the forest turns over its shoulder

to watch who of its number has

fallen, and keeps forgetting the count,

for it is still a forest, and forests

 

are without number. Were Hnyu to

sit down on the new stump a

hop, skip and a jump over

to the left, she would certainly be at

the center of things. Were she to cut

down the forest with a saber, one

by one, the trees would fall into

the earth and instead of stumps sticking

out, we’d have branches of shrubs all

over again. They would group up again

 

against the saber’s blade, and split,

and multiply, and the number of the forest

would be twice uncountable, infinite

plus another infinity, in the realm of

the series. And the noun would stop

hopping and stand still for once,

 

twice, three times,

 

attracted to the object of itself,

and then live forever.