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Before Work

by Liana Alaverdova

Oh, what a shock: at six my clock goes crazy!
I cling to sleep curled in a heap — I’m lazy, lazy,
I’m wrapped in sleep; I’m trapped in sleep,
It blears my eyes; I cannot rise.
But all is lost, I’m double-crossed,
Can’t let it faze me!
I throw off sleep.
With one swift leap
I’m out of bed.
I clear my head,
Put on my blouse,
Put on my house,
Our street to start the day.
Put stockings on,
My kids, my mom
And now I’m underway.
I put my coat and hat on,
Don vertical Manhattan.
It looms in all its splendor.
To impressions I surrender:
The spiky buildings disappearing into clouds;
People rush (why must they push, when they’re in crowds?).
Taxis, cars, men with cigars throng all around.
My world becomes a dizzy sum: sights, scents, and sounds.
The horn’s shrill bleat, the smell of meat, signs everywhere
In scores of tongues; I fill my lungs with chill, damp air.
Then it all stops.
I’m here at work; I mustn’t shirk.
The curtain drops.

Before Work, in Russian

Copyright © 2010 by Liana Alaverdova

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