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Nadya Popova

Graduated fromt he Literary Institute in Moscow and at present works as an editor for 'Panorama,' a literary magazine for translations. She is the author of two books of poems, 'The Line of Life,' and 'A New Moon


On upbringing

'Is it possibly that you can't defend yourself? Still you're not just anybody!' (from a private conversation)

 

You are right as always, master.

 

(I dare to call you 'master' although the slant

 

of my handwriting

 

is opposite to yours).

 

You are right,

 

I'm not a random set of molecules.

 

 

 

Yes, I have been proposed

 

for life on a reservation

 

where nature is protected (I am a woman—game, respectively).

 

but what would I do there

 

if I am not used to interjections?

 

 

 

The other things are not for me-”

 

like walking on a rope

 

or training mice and beasts of prey . . .

 

It raises too much dust,

 

and the first years of my life

 

I spent in mountain air.

 

 

 

Both my children still spell out 'life'

 

and to them the circus is an art,

 

I don't know what they think of courage:

 

to crack a whip or to jump through hoops of fire.

 

Experience will soon teach them

 

not to catch a knife by the blade.

 

 

 

Well, people are there

 

to teach them manners:

 

The fork is on the left, the knife is on the right.

 

But their mother is left-handed

 

and always does the opposite.