Michael Favala Goldman

Evacuation may be necessary

In case you were wondering

Not all bombs explode

If they fall in water

Or on deaf ears

Or some other soft landing

With a faulty trigger

They just lie there

Like an unfinished conversation

The kind you don’t want to have

The kind you don’t want

To exist




                                    for A.H.Я.

I returned to Siberia
the village of my childhood
my aging relatives
wrinkled and sick
in multiple ways
an ambulance for my uncle
the day after Christmas.

My husband and I
went walking –
forty-five below –
avoiding streets
where wolf packs
snap up neighbors’ dogs.
The tip of his nose
turned white so
we had to go back.

They said
there would be
no helicopters
the first two weeks
of January
so I bribed a driver
to get us out of there
ten hours in his car
down a frozen river
to the nearest station town.
Luckily when we passed
a car capsized
in the ice
my husband
was asleep.

Three days on the train and
we were in Moscow.
Liberated! I am Russian,
but not solely. My roots
are Ukraine and Romania.
I do not believe
in Mother Russia
who eats her neighbors
and exiles their children.

When we came home
to our apartment
in Athens it was fifteen
celsius. I went to the beach
three days in a row to lie
in the sun. That was two weeks
ago and I have been sick
ever since. I am five feet tall
thin as a rail. I speak seven languages.
I have a daughter and a dog.
My name is Anna.
What’s yours?



Why Vladimir Putin will die from periodontitis

If you were his dental hygienist
you would say

he has no pockets
no bone loss

good color and adhesion
ignoring the blood

if you want to keep
your extra privilege

and perhaps in the back of your soul
feel some solidarity with ex-soviets

who Russia keeps trying
to put back in her mouth

to fill gaps where her tongue
keeps incessantly exploring

it is this obsession
he can’t stand

though it is all a lost cause
and whatever you say

will fall on welcome ears
as long as it is not the truth.



Working at the UN International Crime Tribunal

                                                            after The Croatian War

I want justice served
But I cannot translate
With my eyes full of tears.




            Statue of Lenin on an armored car pedestal, Finland Station, St. Petersburg

In this way you will be liberated
from yourself, fall
in service to squares, steel and gunsights.
The unconvinced will be riddled,
removed, and renounced, and I
will stand here in frozen proclamation,
my own ideal, a tiny triumph over
the failure of history to be merciful.



Michael Favala Goldman (b.1966) is an award-winning poet and translator of Danish literature. His third book of poetry, Small Sovereign, won first place in the 2022 Los Angeles Book Festival. Among his sixteen translated books is Dependency , which made the New York Times Best 10 Books of 2021 as book three of The Copenhagen Trilogy. Goldman lives in Northampton, MA, where he has been running poetry critique groups since 2018. https://michaelfavalagoldman.com/