They’re not going to make love today.

Exhausted from walking and cold,

they’ll fade out slowly

in front of a TV set.

The lids will softly fall

on their heavy eyes.

Lying on the bed, she’ll turn towards the wall

waking him up; he’ll turn off the TV.

Instantly, the blue light will vanish from the flower-patterned wallpaper.

The window will be yellow with the light

of night-time Moscow.

He’ll get up then and take off his shirt,

the way men take off their shirts:

grabbing it by the shoulders and pulling it across their back,

which will thus split open like a tent.

He’ll lay down beside her, and in her light sleep she’ll feel

his warmth.

Slowly they’ll descend into a deeper slumber.

They’re not going to make love today,

and I’ll be relieved.

When their voices stop seeping

into my bluish solitude,

I’ll know that they’re asleep.

If they’d made love, I’d have been embarrassed,

as one’s embarrassed when one walks upon a kiss

or into a bathroom when someone’s naked and entering the tub.

If they’d made love, I’d have been embarrassed

by the gasping and then moaning

that I’d hear through the thin wall.

The moans of a woman whose breasts are being kissed

are different from those of a woman penetrated.

For at that moment she’s relieved that the man hadn’t gone far away.

That’s what I’d ponder in my sleeplessness.

I’d start sketching your naked shoulders across the Moscow skyline

among the wallpaper’s gold and turquoise flowers.

I’d imagine your vulnerability

in the moment before you come,

when you lose the ability to retreat into yourself and your lips

betrayingly transform into a taut little ribbon.

I’d know

that what was caught

was not the voices of two people,

male and female.

That it was my solitude,

the fact I’m sleeping in a hotel room alone

and strangely ignorant:

not knowing what to do

with the accumulating distance

from my home.

translation in Englihs: Jernej Županič

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