Rain pours down in Rome, repeating: "Believe
you will not vanish into the pit, nor into the noise
of your native aspens"—but animals die,
stars die, waves die. Even Brodsky died.
Jack-of-all-trades, a tootling one-man band,
lips all bloody, wrapped in a greasy cloak—
already another, a different living singer
falls mute in confusion among the ruins.
He has no desire to laugh, and none to howl.
It smells of Latin in the stony fog.
So, what is left now? Forgetting it all
and calling everything by its proper name?
But at this hour the Coliseum stands empty,
only on one wall, caught in a ray of moonlight,
a black inscription scrawled by unknown friends—
"We were here: Seryózha, Alik, Pétya."
from the Russian
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