Olga Bragina is a poet, writer, and translator. Born in Kyiv in 1982, she graduated from Kyiv National University with a degree in translation. She is the author of three poetry collections, and two books of fiction. Her work has been published in the literary journals Воздух, Волга, Цирк “Олимп”+TV, Парадигма, Контекст, Лиterraтура, Двоеточие. She resides in Kyiv.
“they kept saying …”
“mama says I don’t know …”
“they kept saying …”they kept saying may there never be war again at victory day concerts they sang about celebrating through tears we thought war was a thing of the past like black-and-white documentary reels or war-themed soviet films we thought war had nothing to do with us, we loved the fireworks which are now canceled, we no longer count the blasts, we understand that the war never ends, like it says in a philosophy textbook under Hobbes we understand that there is war but there is no victory, those who’ve seen the war don’t want to talk about it, but children like to play war (as we did in our childhood, I had two handguns – one was a water pistol, the other shot plastic bullets, and we also made spitball shooters from hollow stalks, and then we had Dendy consoles) there is war but there is no victory, and there won’t be victory will be no-one’s, look at yourself in the mirror and know that peace is war they kept saying this world will never know peace the world lies in evil, we need to look for a new one, try different options, we attended victory day concerts under the People’s Friendship Arch we thought history had ended but that was just the prologue history belongs to you while you read after that history is no-one’s
“mama says I don’t know …”mama says I don’t know where it’s safe right now I say yes those who fled to Paris after the revolution ended up in occupation in the Resistance in labor camps near our house a banner is displayed where there used to be a banner advertising gym membership discounts the banner says if tanks get here “don’t sell your soul to save P” I just burst in tears remembered the times of the primitive accumulation of capital when they were building churches believing they could strike a deal with God build a church donate to church or even fund a tearjerking movie the police were only glad these gangsters will gun each other down one by one to say nothing of bent cops those uniformed werewolves there we sat in Troieshchyna reading our books then war came to us papa says we only saw this in war movies before