By Andrey Gritsman

You are the one bushwhacking

in the twilight of life.

That’s the place

where we meet

when evening light is condensed

in the crevices of thePalisades.


Canadian winds whispering

in the dried-out garbage

as you walk

in an unknown direction

toward self-destruction.

I am the one knowing where

I am going, going in circles.


I already walked those roads,

roads of life, the road of lives,

where there is love, hatred, deep probing,

short of madness,

sort of madness.

It’s cyclic like biking

up and down the closed loop

in the Van Cortland Park

along the abandoned railroad

where hobos used to move

in the freight cars down South,

leaving theHudsonValley

mostly forever.


There was a moment when

we would sit together

handcuffed by circumstances,

on that stained bench,

gasping the same humid air of danger

filled with smoke, child’s cry,

salsa, bebop, night honks,

mutual misfortune.


This is the last moment of love,

the point from where

we go separate ways

to our own quarters.

And where we left

love’s wings lying there

left on the floor

like a couple of old notebooks in the corner

of a dilapidated apartment

after humans moved out.


A native of Moscow, I  emigrated to the United States in 1981. I am a physician who is also a poet and essayist. I have published five volumes of poetry in Russian. I received the 2009 Pushcart Prize Honorable Mention XXIII and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times (2005–2011), and also was on the Short List for PEN American Center Biennial Osterweil Poetry Award. My poems, essays, and short stories in English have appeared or are forthcoming in over 60 literary journals, including Amarillo Bay, Left Curve, Nimrod International Journal, Sanskrit, Blue Mesa, Confrontation, Cimarron Review, Euphony, The Fourth River, Absinthe: New European Writing, Hotel Amerika, Mad Hatter’s Review, New Orleans Review, Notre Dame Review, Wisconsin Review, Studio One, Denver Quarterly, Hawaii Review, Hunger Mountain, Permafrost, A Gathering of the Tribes, Poet Lore, Poetry International, Puerto del Sol, Reed Magazine, Richmond Review (London), Fortnight (N. Ireland, UK), Landfall (New Zealand), Ars Interpres (Stockholm, Sweden), The South Carolina Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Harpur Palate, Tampa Review, Texas Review, Verdad, and The Writer’s Chronicle. My work has also been anthologized in Modern Poetry in Translation (UK), Crossing Centuries (New Generation in Russian Poetry), The Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from the Robert Frost Place, Stranger at Home: American Poetry with an Accent, Visions International, and in Killer Verse: Poems on Murder and Mayhem.

I received my MFA in poetry from Vermont College. I run the Intercultural Poetry Series in a popular literary club, Cornelia Street Café, in New York City.

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