Two in One

by Abraham Sutzkever

Two in One

Two in One

by Abraham Sutzkever

I am two in one. One lives a long life in honor

of another and counts the stars for him until dawn.

I am two in one. One forged to the other forever,

if forever will allow Russian cubits to be its measure.


An enemy and a friend in one. And sometimes two enemies

who challenge one another to old-fashioned duels. And it turns out

that both get away with wounds and are left on the ground

riddled with bullets, until they lick the blood from themselves with a song.


And again a black cat may spring up or a frog,

we’ll stay, unintentionally, two in one from now on.

We know the double-hatred will not divide us,

that two-as-one are beating on the gate to heaven.


I am two in one. One dreams for the other. Let us free

our two-ness peacefully from the bars. And drink up

the summer sun to its last drop, let’s do that, as Socrates

drank all the way to the bitter end his poisoned cup.

translated from Yiddish by Maia Evrona