A Prediction

When the forces of good and of light gain their final victory,
There is no doubt in my mind that I will be justly sentenced
In a court of law to execution by firing squad for the harm
And damage that I have inflicted upon our country’s literature.
But first – I myself insist on this and I demand a free lawyer –
I will be debriefed with radical interrogation techniques, so that
Under the duress and the torture, I name all my co-conspirators,
Every bit as guilty as I, hundreds and hundreds of names of men
And women whose criminal designs are directly responsible
For the complete decline and decay of our once great culture.

Translated from the Russian by Philip Nikolayev


Vitaly Pukhanov was born in 1966 in Kiev, Ukraine. He has served as prose editor of the magazine October and from 2003 to 2015 was executive secretary of the Youth Literary Award Debut, and from 2019, is director of the award Poetry. He has been published in the magazines Air, Banner, Continent, New World, and October. He is author of the poetry collections Wooden Garden (1995), Fig Fruit (2003); and School of Mercy (2014). He was winner of the Anthologia award (2014) and a special award from Moscow Score (2014).

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