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Guess Who Was My Guest
From Songs For the Dead Rooster

Having hung on the door the triangular sign
with the words Do not disturb please
the hotel thief
locks himself in my room.
He is interested in money and valuables.
So am I, actually.

It turns out in this country they also
have thieves.
One of them at this very moment is perusing the drawers,
my photographs, address books
(why do I have two of them – why the hell
didn’t I file all the addresses together?),
delicately sifts through the contents of the suitcase,
delicately leaves in peace the most intimate things,
for example, a toy Chrysler car –
a silly gift from festival sponsors.

Later he grabs from the bar a diet coke,
drinks it mechanically,
looks at Cyrillic letters in my books,
and concludes that I am Russian.

I can’t give you anything but love.

But here too I overshoot.
I can’t even give you love –
except for the brotherly one
which doesn’t count.
Such are the times.

At the last moment he does find
his four hundred plus bucks,
and doesn’t neglect the twenty hryvnias either,
probably taking them for some Algerian dinars,
as well as the return railway ticket
from Kyiv to Lviv.

A lot of use it will be for him in this Sweden of his,
where there’s no Kyiv, no Lviv,
where there’s nothing but a foreign land!

I’m already in the elevator
when he leaves for the hallway,
when he closes the door behind himself,
when he flips the triangular sign
to the now appropriate side saying
Please make up.

We meet by the elevator.
Sorry I was unable to give you love.
Buy some heroin for yourself for all the four hundred.