Poetry from Mykyta Ryzhykh



Birds of flame in the eyes 

Оf the one who looks at the flame

Close your ears don’t breathe

The same old

Еver-familiar musical libretto

Іnside the memory 

Оf the heart

Will be heard by the carpenter

Рreparing a new coffin for my love


I talk to the tree but it is silent

I talk to a stone and it wets

I talk to water and it just flows

I scream at the water

I’m screaming at the childhood that doesn’t exist

I scream for war

Hundreds of nuclear bombs explode inside of me

My molecules spill out of a hole in the body

And suddenly I fall silent to become a stalactite

Millennium stalactite

Strong adult silent stalactite


my father carves crafts out of my skin

nature plays tag with foliage

my spring is ending


cat paws kill mice

blood is splattered all over the kitchen

cat hugging my leg

the kitchen presses against me with the aroma of food


wipe my face with the wind

wash my body clean

autumn – human autumn – human


The color of the blind and the color of the colorblind

A bird tells a bird about flight

The voice of the silence of the living and the dead

Yellowness of book pages and freshness of rye

The cell of the body and the cell of physicality

The color of death and the twilight of essence

Flight of imagination and imagination of flight

A bird looks for the sky in the sight of a blind man

A color-blind person is bathed in colors

Two people in line in an optician

And over their heads is a joint and separate God


No one was born human

No one died as a god

The rain washes away the fear from your face

The courage to be afraid when a stranger with the face of death roars through the windows with artillery explosions


Death is the cover

My body starts making friends with worms

The worms are fucking me in all the cracks just as they were during my life

Only now no one pays me for fucking because the bills are paid in full


The loneliness of antiquity befell the cemetery

Butterflies played a symphony of heritage with their wings:

They were once in a cocoon

They once cocooned themselves

They were once their own parents

Flowers tickle themselves with playful wings

How much is the life of a butterfly if thanks to a butterfly spring comes and the cemetery lives again?

(The Wise Owl reprint)


roads explode right under your feet

war is a house without wallpaper

the skies explode overhead

the plane’s gut becomes the first victim

the ability to be honestly afraid appears when a stranger with the face of death breathes into the crown of the head


the witch was burned on such a huge log

that if a crossbar were added

it would be a cross

a time for crusades and disbelief is ahead

my cat is purring

and with my eyes closed I conjure
an end to the war outside the window

the cat smiles knowing that wizards do not exist

the future has arrived

it is spring
the graves remain

(3rd Wednesday reprint)


we drink the silence of the water breaking the reflection of the cherry blossoms

we quench our thirst with cherry blossoms disturbing the water in which it is reflected

we also reflected in the water

we are reflected in each other

we kiss like grains of sand

we fall apart like sand kisses

at least that’s what I imagined in my head

the water in the morning will wash away our paired traces that never existed


balancing between

war and war

leads to groin strain

outside the broken

window you can hear

the songs of birds

as if no one had died


the bird drowned itself in silence

our night cries fall on the cemetery slabs

along with the autumn leaves


boy washes in the rain

near the ruins of a house

the night takes slain soldiers

into its womb


the sky is turning blue

the water turns white

transparency disappears

and in childhood everything seemed clean and clear

in childhood everything seemed black and white

as a child I did not believe that it was possible to become an adult

I still can’t sleep sometimes

and monsters crawl out from under the bed 

torturing me on a full moon

just don’t call mom for help anymore

(An edited new version published in OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters)


“My cat vomits grass”

What does my cat do all day long? Continuously washes himself after I hug him. However, before that he comes and rubs himself against me. Even at five in the morning and with dirty paws, when I sleep he rubs his face, because the rest of his body is hidden by the blanket.

Often the cat eats: food from the bowl, bugs, grass. Sometimes he vomits on the walkway. The walkway is already stained with cat hair and vomit, too. I don’t blame my cat: I myself have vomited a couple of times in the last year from what’s going on around me.

Often a cat will hunt mice, then toss and chew on the corpse, and leave the mouse remains and guts by the side of the road. Animal instincts are incomprehensible to me: why kill and chew on mice if you’re already well fed?

Sometimes the cat plays with household items, from shoelaces to flowers on window sills.

Despite the fact that my cat is a filthy rotter – I love him. He came to our house after the war began and came to live with us. The cat doesn’t understand at all what’s going on around him, and I don’t explain anything to him: what if he starts protecting our house from the blast wave and dies?

It’s funny, I still haven’t figured out the gender of my cat, but by default I think he’s a boy.

Someday my cat will die without ever knowing that a war has broken out. What’s more, my cat will never know why the war started. I will probably die, too, without ever finding out why people go to war. I want to die without finding out that there is a war.

Reprint by The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts