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Anna Akhmatova

The Sentence

Nancy Nersessian

And the stone word fell
On my still-living breast.
Never mind, I was ready.
I will manage somehow.

Today I have so much to do:
I must kill memory once and for all,
I must turn my soul to stone,
I must learn to live again—

Unless . . . Summer's ardent rustling
Is like a festival outside my window.
For a long time I've foreseen this
Brilliant day, deserted house.
Akhmatova, Anna, "The Sentence," from The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova, translated by Judith Hemschemeyer. Used by permission of Zephyr Press.