‘In Between’: a poem by Alan Zhukovski

 
 

    In Between

 

A rebellious leaf tries his best
to remain on the branch.
He trembles from pain and air.
He’s not a material but a product
of life slowly gnawing small bits of the sky.
He’s only a pawn in a project
intended to conquer the air above.
Yet he started to think on his own.
His cells clutch the gap in his navel cord.
He was born to another brief circle,
which will end in a final defeat.
He’s acquired a consciousness,
and he knows that his birth leads to death.
He’s a bit like a horrified man who clutches
a fateful cliff. The leaf tries desperately
to preserve his connection.
The tyranny of the wind ignores
his audacious pain.
In the process, the leaf has become
not an “it” but a “he”
while his brothers were born hardly conscious,
surrendered, and joined the illusion of freedom.
It’s better to hang on a branch
but be free
than to travel enslaved by the arrogant wind.
The air is in need of puppets
who trade their freedom for new impressions.
The leaf is unable to fly, but he’ll fly
as a soldier of chance, as a hostage of whim.
Passing seagulls observe him with obvious scorn.

 

Alan Zhukovski

About Alan Zhukovski

Alan Zhukovski is a poet and translator. His work has appeared in the New Statesman, Ambit, The London Magazine, The Threepenny Review, Oxford Poetry, Tin House, Poetry International Rotterdam, Agenda, Acumen, Plume, Gulf Coast, Asymptote, The Manchester Review, Orbis, Blackbird, The Fortnightly Review, and elsewhere.