The Cat Is Drinking Water From My Glass
For Toma Markov

I know it is a dream.
I know that now
I should move
my hand. Drive it away. And take
a tranquilizer… No,

I can’t.

Instead of me,
the reading lamp begins to move..
It takes a different shape,
becomes a starship,
and the little men
get off to take me
as if I were their tranquilizer.

Of course, not the entire me.
My goal,
my axis,
my restless pursuit of an end for itself—
they don’t need such things.

They come to wrench from my soul
just one presumptive kernel.
A little ampoule, hidden
behind the wrapping of a glossy consciousness.
But under it…
something mysterious happens.
The little men flee terrified.
But the ship is gone.
I hear a lapping sound… Oh, God!

The cat is drinking from my glass of water.
Thanks, Savior!
my hand will move.
The phantasms will die of fright. And I,
for the lack of a tranquilizer,
will have to gulp down a part of myself…

“You can have some water as well”, the cat says.
“For I am only a memory
of your former cat Simmo.”

In case you don’t believe it,
in case you doubt,
remember Antoine,
remember Lavoisier.
Remember how he was examining water
and instead of a goldfish, he caught
the law, according to which
nothing is created or lost
but only changes its nature…
Then remember the guillotine, where
Lavoisier himself
lost his head.
Adieu, mon cher! Adieu!
Your mother said you shouldn’t be afraid.
You won’t die in a foreign land.
Beware of water and of fame.
In the present horrid times of form-betrayers,
Against the laws—