Comrades, if I don’t live to see the day
— I mean,if I die before freedom comes —
take me away
and bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia.
The worker Osman whom Hassan Bey ordered shot
can lie on one side of me, and on the other side
the martyr Aysha, who gave birth in the rye
and died inside of forty days.
Tractors and songs can pass below the cemetery —
in the dawn light, new people, the smell of burnt gasoline,
fields held in common, water in canals,
no drought or fear of the police.
Of course, we won’t hear those songs:
the dead lie stretched out underground
and rot like black branches,
deaf, dumb, and blind under the earth.
But, I sang those songs
before they were written,
I smelled the burnt gasoline
before the blueprints for the tractors were drawn.
As for my neighbors,
the worker Osman and the martyr Aysha,
they felt the great longing while alive,
maybe without even knowing it.
Comrades, if I die before that day, I mean
— and it’s looking more and more likely —
bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia,
and if there’s one handy,
a plane tree could stand at my head,
I wouldn’t need a stone or anything.
Moscow, Barviha Hospital
Trans. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk (1993)