Maria Malinovskaya

Maria Malinovskaya

Translated by Sarah Vitali


women with stomachs ripped open

are unloaded into the cast-off bodies of cars

everyone says

they died before their time

the time that drags

them out of itself by the legs

and still drags on

the water rat speeds along the gutter

its ribbed little head flashing above the water

the proboscises of desire cleanse

the surface of a naked body

disgorged by the outpour

they use them to catch fish

in those very same waters

and sometimes dredge up dead bodies themselves

silence takes root

the rat in the spout sucks in its cheeks

they scrub the women’s stomachs clean

but find no trace of a child

each one adds a tunnel

to their interconnected voids

i don’t exist is a confession

punishable by law

after that it’s not worth asking

so what will happen to me now

the only thing more terrible than live birth

is live life


every moment

the sleepless tic of the sun

cracked open in boiling water

quiet reading round a spiral

no one remembers on deserted corners

how a dead man was ushered into life

how a live one from the other side grew deaf

and lost his caution

stumbling into their children

adults recoil

as if seeing their own ghosts

Maria Malinovskaya was born in Gomel (Belarus) in 1994. PhD-student in Contemporary Poetry Studies at The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. Author of two books. The first one, a documentary poetry project and collection Kaimaniya (2020), is based on authentic speech of people suffering from mental disorders. The second one, The Movement of Hidden Colonies (2020), includes both lyrical and documentary poems, for instance, her ongoing documentary poetry project based on testimonies of French–Ivorian clashes survivors. Malinovskaya’s poetry has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines and translated into English, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Belorussian and Polish. Participant of the European Poetry Festival, the Nordic Poetry Festival. Lives in Moscow.

About wellbeing:

In my view, poetry and wellbeing have a very complex relationship. Poetry is a search for wellbeing because, ideally, writing a poem is the only way for a poet to feel right, even if the poem is self-destructive. On the other hand, today poems very often perform an (auto-) therapeutic function and tell about body/trauma. It becomes a progressive way to make some problems of modern society visible. But the more such poems appear, the more it becomes just a trend and starts serving another purposes. So, in my opinion, poetry and wellbeing will always have this attraction-repulsion relationship, and this is what makes this pair always relevant for poetry of any age, regardless of whether it tells about social inequalities, body, trauma, politics or love.

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