Boris Dralyuk

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Late Style

“But late evening, late blossoms, and late autumns are perfectly punctual.”
—Edward Said

For ages I’ve awaited my late style.
The bread grew stale. The candles shrank and guttered.
Busboys refilled my glass. After a while
the waiter took the menu, softly muttered,
“Poor sap,” and left a bill for the chianti.
And still I sit, tapping my fingers, wanting
to see it, hear it—wide-eyed, short of breath,
begging forgiveness, drenched and pale as death.
I wonder what excuses it’ll make:
work, weather, traffic? Doesn’t really matter.
Well worth the wait. I listen to the chatter
at other tables—youthful, easy, fake.
I’ll keep my vigil till I turn to stone,
stubbornly silent, artlessly alone.

Boris Dralyuk is literary translator and the executive editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is the editor of 1917: Stories and Poems from the Russian Revolution (Pushkin Press, 2016) and Ten Poems from Russia (Candlestick Press/Pushkin Press, 2018) and co-editor of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (2015). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Yale Review, The New Criterion, Jewish Quarterly, and elsewhere.