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Three poems by Alesya Loseva

Aļesja Loseva is an author of Belarusian origin who was born in Latvia. The influence and temperament of the Latvian, Belarusian and Russian languages are intertwined in her poetic voice. In public appearances, she talks about Belarusian literature and the dire situation of political prisoners in Belarus. Collections of poetry and translated poetry have been published in Rīgas almanahs, Konteksts and Punctum.

Credits Text: Aļesja Loseva Translated to English from Latvian by Ieva Lešinska October 05 2023


the braid my dad made
usually unraveled
threatening my well-honed
A-student image,
but saving from crimes
to which the braids
of world’s girls are subject
it tactfully supplemented
my spousal portrait
along with a rosary
slammed into my skull at an angle

strangely enough, it was impossible
to unravel that time
when I was lying in the grave
and waiting for you
to take care of all the paperwork,
so that the two of us could finally be resurrected
it grew longer and kept

getting in the way

not letting to fall asleep forever
so every time when
I feel like screaming
that there is no making peace with tyrants
either in beds or governments,
that Soviet times were stupid,
that boys grow up,
but I never picked up smoking
I hug my dad
and go to plait me a braid


I ended up here around sunset

when the firstborn was no longer cut out

in the search for a king and

were no longer drowned in buckets because of their race

but were yet to be fed warm milk

on demand but by a schedule scrupulously worked out

by party members I don’t remember but am reasonably

certain that shoved into an incubator I experienced my first culture shock

and in an indecipherable language protested loudly against this state of affairs

my native empire at the time was mourning its leader

not burying so the man would continue to stink and

the pain some baby felt against the backdrop

of this world tragedy had weight much too small

(later I got that worlds care not at all)

just like any other human child my blood was populated by white and red cells

but completely white I turned because of crying not because of my origins

the vast majority in my blood did not agree with me

yet continued to provide the oxygen which became my only food

on the first two days of my life

a young Belarusian beauty bestowed me

with life at the time when there was no sex and

the holy ghost was deported

it was probably aliens from outer space who were responsible for my arrival

when the schedules of party members lacked some check marks for a happy childhood

they transferred the task to the beauties

like conscripts they had to know how to bare their breasts in the right way

without previous training and lewd literature

on breastfeeding techniques and delivery experiences

some other ill-advised literature suggests that the moment before saving the world

creator’s legs were firmly together and covered in blood

whereas all other creators know that only the second condition is the case in reality

that’s why so many still feel it’s proper to shame them

for the strange habit to place all the love of this world

at spread feet

the pieces of ice that were thrown

on my beauty’s belly as a magnanimous gesture on the part of the obstetricians

were a poor anesthetic but slowly changing their state

they fell on our shoulders like a cross-shaped flagpole

to be used for truce the way warring sides do

when they start longing for a neutral airspace full of flowers mothballs

and other smells of death’s foreplay from horizons as blue

as my mother’s milk dismissed by contemporary science

but now I know for sure that blue milk flowing from breasts

happens as the blue blood underneath warms up

we were already observed by the winds of change yet time that love spends in forced exile

regardless whether it’s the eternal two hours on the birthing table where they’ve forgotten you

with obstetricians whisking off only your firstborn or two days in an incubator

that seem eternal or two millennia where none of us

is eternal and does not count in the overall work history of love

that’s why even in old age God has to do with peanuts

my childhood however was happy thanks to the shrewd and educated

Belarusian who chose as my father the local Abrene man of Slavic origins

and with the truest of souls and my strange soul grew along with it

benefiting from the clear air of Latvian borderland and Belarusian countryside

it learned to love in various tongues and rejoiced that its temple

was hardened under a military commander’s guidance with morning exercises and

Montessori-style self-made hand motor skills enhancing

Materials: wooden tanks warplanes and tractors

I was a true country proletarian with skinned knees

only my borzoi’s body and pale complexion

kept indicating irregularities in my bloodbitch root system and my noble Russian

skin was a challenge to the Baltic sun and it keeps taking its revenge regularly

turning my golden tresses into lackluster rye maiden’s oakum

a guy with a mohawk in a jean jacket and smelling of a foreign aftershave

and freedom did not become my first love I liked

his shorts made of the Soviet Latvian flag with the hammer and sickle

placed right on his ass and it was a nice ass yet all other

signs indicated that dating him would mean a shitstorm at home

times how changed yet many shrewd and educated Belarusian beauties are subject

to a shitstorm

in their own homes while I am safe

the vast majority in my blood does not agree with me

but I can’t turn off the oxygen in myself

Ziedonis’s Eyebrows

(I forgot a pen, jotted down with an eyebrow pencil. Will have to put it up on Instagram)

We dug beets together.
You were so upset about the closed sugar factory,
that you menaced some gentleman’s gourd.
Such is politics.

Little rabbits had spent quite some time in the carrot bed.

They pulled them out one by one. Rinsed them off.
Ate and laughed with delight.
Some childhood that was!

The cherry tree had not been invited.
Starlings once conquered this and neighboring gardens.
They screeched, picked, and shat. They dropped down the pits.
The tree kept feeling like it didn’t belong yet continued to bloom and produce.
Such is history.

The autumn pigs dug up the potato field.
They happily grunted and screeched.
Dogs, barking, rushed over to save the spuds.
How hilarious that was!

I dug up the dahlia tubers alone,

protecting my best memories.
I kept them in a cool and dark place.
No light enters here. But neither do frosts.
Such is love.

In the Linde Park trees grow with their roots up in the air.
It's captivating. They are connected.

We are like that.

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