with what hands


Ballad for the Future
Ivan Radoev
Future – with what hands shall we pass you on?
You’re very far, you can’t make out our hands.
Our palms are clammy bank notes.
The lines of life, honor, duty and art
cross those of shame.
Under our nails is the mud from crawling
our way up to the point of our fall.
No one else but we ourselves
handcuffed us, comfortably, in the face of our fear.
That’s why we offer you our two bound palms
instead of unfolded wings.

The only remnant
of shame we felt
was when we buried our mothers with communal fees,
then we dared not put
our hands on their foreheads
so they wouldn’t carry to the grave
the imprint of our horror.

Of course, there were shining ones among us.
They set off long ago, Future, to meet you.
But the ballad tells us
they went blind on the road.