Gena Gruz



The pressure gauge reads thirteen kilopascals.
The metronome tik-toks in the subway station.
Eleven apostles at the table. One more in the doorway.
Roman soldiers appraise the bacchanalia of a novel faith.
Who is pointing his finger at this Jew?
A best friend in sheep’s clothing.


A pearl choker flirts with a fat wallet.
Dead souls in a dense breathlessness.
Despairing phones are suffocating life.
Girls play by the rules to strangle the person next to them.



dromedary thoughts
the rider goes nuts
steps on the slimy sand
the desert has delirium tremens
the caravan keeps moving
a yellow yawn
the sun
the yellow eye of Egypt
has slept with eternity


“What load are you carrying?” asked the Immortal.
“My burden is to carry the cosmos on a hump and give you water
so that you no longer live forever.”


beneath a red plastic helmet
a head protrudes from dirty overalls
a wrinkled neck above overalls
passionate cursing in deaf eyes
a pointy nose askew
a strong stale-cigarette smell
the crane is asleep
between the skyscraper and the shack

*Aaron Poochigian translated the poems above from Russian.

Gena Gruz, a poet and an artist, has a PhD in Molecular Biology from NYU. Born in the Soviet Union, she moved to the US in her early teens and now lives in New York City. Her artwork was part of a traveling exhibition “The Modernism and Post-Modernism: Russian Art of the Ending Millennium.” She is the author of two poetry books, Radiant Solitude (2018) and Earthly Entities (2019), both from Liberty Publishing House. Her work is a part of Artelen, (2021), and 25th Anniversary Poetry Ink Anthology (2021). Her poems have appeared in Textura, Asymptote, ArticulationProject, National Translation Month, Interpoezia and elsewhere. She hosts Lit Party literary events.