one recent night i stayed up till two reading about nuclear escalation, a tactical nuclear strike, then woke up at seven, face to face with gek; he smiled and said: “do you know whose birthday it is today? yours! santa-frost will bring presents.”
i don’t remember what happened that day—after the nuclear detente—but when two weeks ago zhenya came to visit from nivky on her bicycle, she had to stay several nights. that arctic wind that was meant to turn tanks into 40-ton freezers grounded the bicyclists too. we went outside and reveled in how sharply it hit—a gift, a gift.
it’s hardest to wake from plot-heavy but peaceful dreams—the daily realization that nothing is over. the matinal creeping of sound: every day, a piece of the city is cut off. sometimes i look up the distance on a map—8-10 km from my house.
i know which russian army is sitting west of kyiv, in a marauding cauldron1, which is not a cauldron but a horseshoe, and we can’t just demolish it, we can only exhaust it with quick counterstrikes (will we take grandfather to irpin’ when everything is over? or should he not see what has become of it?)
i know that moshchun was liberated by a foreign battalion, i know the name of the anti-aircraft defense system that can shoot down a hypersonic “dagger” missile, i know the name of the general who is fighting against humanity in mariupol, i know that before this he fought against humanity in aleppo, i am waiting for his dog-death.
i know major prokopenko’s face well, with and without a gaiter. who will play him in the film about mariupol? orlando bloom? he just came to the moldovan border to meet ukrainian refugees.
the editor-in-chief of the bulvar newspaper delivers information to russia like a hypersonic dagger missile (get the fuck out of here!), and here is the information from major prokopenko: the situation is difficult but under control. no one is planning on giving up.
i know that for serezha, tenderness and metaphor are still possible, even on the night watch or in the morning, where these things end. this knowledge has illuminated one full day and illuminates minutes of others.
i hold onto the lives of those i know as if solipsism could be salvation, as if it is only those whom i know (have conceived of) that exist, and if they are alive and are not suffering, then everyone is alive,
as if in mariupol there was only daniil—and he has gotten out—and only major prokopenko, who is not planning on dying.
i think about how there is no enemy in existence whom we know better. we ourselves assembled its language three hundred years ago, we named it, we determined its ideological foundations. the great russian pomp is worth nothing here, the great russian impotence touches no one.
spring squalls, mine-studded bridges, kyiv split into halves—right bank and left bank. for several years i’ve lived in a house with the most beautiful garden outside my window. it stands on a sliding hillock, now placed on a powder keg. here, franya has teethed out 12 teeth in a month. for him, word has woven to object.
i can conceive none of this. and now the magnolias bloom.
1 (mil.) kettle, pocket. group of combat forces that have been isolated by opposing forces from their logistical base and other friendly forces.