Fishes’ Tears

Serhiy Zhadan



Fishes’ Tears

Translated from the Ukrainian by Alan Zhukovski


Spring passes!

Birds cry. Fishes’ eyes

Are filled with tears.

—Matsuo Basho


after the flood


we listened attentively

to fishes’ tongueless


through the lines

and planes

of gelid water

the fishes swam above

our sunken ships

and we observed

the gently swinging

silver earrings

of tears

fixed to their eyes


Serhiy Zhadan (born 1974) is a Ukrainian poet, novelist, and short story writer. English translations of his poetry and articles about him have appeared in The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry International, Asymptote, The Wolf, and elsewhere. He has received the Joseph Conrad-Korzeniowski Literary Award, the Angelus Central European Literature Award, the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, the Hubert Burda Prize, the BBC Ukrainian Book of the Year Award, and the Brücke Berlin Prize.