A Sonnet for the Invader

I can’t take my eyes off you. Isn’t this what you
always wanted? Can’t stop checking who else
you have touched in the country of my birth.
Our proud women, so weary; the red-eyed boys

you kiss into the night. O Laocoon, the undulation
of every torso towards you. Your live net of arms,
the hands you tie before you kill. Playing hard
to get? But I am not the jealous type. It is your orgy

that startles me into fascination. I know you saw me
watching you from five thousand miles away.
Me, and millions of voyeurs, drawn like moths
to our fiery screens. I hope you’re happy.

Uncouple yourself from my land. Come.
Let me see your face. Hurt me instead.

Olga Livshin’s poetry and translations appear in the New York Times, Ploughshares, the Kenyon Review, and other journals. She is the author of A Life Replaced: Poems with Translations from Anna Akhmatova and Vladimir Gandelsman (Poets & Traitors Press, 2019). Livshin co-translated A Man Only Needs a Room, a volume of Vladimir Gandelsman’s poetry, forthcoming from New Meridian Arts Books in 2022, and Today is a Different War by the Ukrainian poet Lyudmyla Khersonska, forthcoming from Arrowsmith Press in 2023. She lives outside Philadelphia.

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