of Boris Slutsky's "Key"
City University of New York
I had a room with a private entrance.
I was a bachelor and lived alone.
My friends entered at every whim.
comrades lived with aunts
and with wives resembling aunts,
with women, fat, too thin,
tired, bored, like rain.
older every year,
birthing children, daughters, sons,
monuments to insufficiency,
statues of failed lives,
of long waiting lines.
comrades loved their wives.
asked me many times:
don't you marry, you playboy?
what do you know of domestic bliss?
My comrades didn't love their wives.
Girls with supple hands pleased them,
in which, when you find yourself reflected,
like a rock.
However, I was careful.
I asked no stupid questions.
I simply provided the key to the lock.
They asked me -- I gave.
[i] "Kliuch," Sobranie Sochinenii, ed. Y. Boldireva (Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia
Literatura, 1991), 1: 158.
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