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About this poet

Vera Pavlova is a Russian writer and the author of several poetry collections, including If There is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poems (Knopf, 2010). Her poems have been translated into more than twenty different languages.

If There Is Something to Desire, 9, 17, 18

9

I broke your heart.
Now barefoot I tread
on shards.


17

Why is the word yes so brief?
It should be
the longest,
the hardest,
so that you could not decide in an instant to say it,
so that upon reflection you could stop
in the middle of saying it.


18

—Sing me The Song of Songs.
—Don't know the words.
—Then sing the notes.
—Don't know the notes.
—Then simply hum.
—Forgot the tune.
—Then press my ear
to your ear
and sing what you hear.

From If There Is Something to Desire by Vera Pavlova. Copyright © 2010 by Vera Pavlova. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf.

From If There Is Something to Desire by Vera Pavlova. Copyright © 2010 by Vera Pavlova. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf.

Vera Pavlova

Vera Pavlova is a Russian writer and the author of several poetry collections, including If There is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poems (Knopf, 2010). Her poems have been translated into more than twenty different languages.