foggy reflection

Sketch from life

Look out the window into a whitish, gentle cloud.  It was always here, as if alive, as something silently gauded and gave moisture. 

Tulle leaned on the window sill, picked up the hem, straightened her wings and sat like a bird on a perch, and the slots of the windows loomed, and there were sounds: the continuous flashing of the headlights of unextinguished cars.

The alarm wailed several times and fell silent.  A truck drove by, crushed the road with its wheels and scratched the dirt along the path.  There was a pedestrian and a jacket as blue as night, with a dark package and bag.  They were all the same and had no colors.  They were all sad and unbearable. Fir trees were green, almost festive, and they stood in the winter greenery.  The snow was waiting, and there was no Christmas.  Asphalt was wet as a mountain and had the smell of gas.  It was everything you couldn’t even dream of.  

Overweight workers all looked the same.

Small five-story houses.  

Toys in a large world. 

Those born here could only grieve their children’s world.

Thin, tanned fingers slid across the white screen and scribbled letters. Hands slid down the flat phone on the withered bedspread, went into the kitchen, and turned on the stove. A fifteen-story building was reflected in the glass window, rising at its peak on a hill, bright on top of dark bare trees.

Behind a thousand souls with closed sleeping eyes, those who would never see the light.  What was gone would not return, and fragments fell on the paving stones of centuries, and we would die with eternal memory, by what was gone, take your hands, squeezed tightly so that I do not die.


The reflection of the eye blinked in the fog of the day.  There was another reflection similar to me on the glass, but it was a ghost.   A pink sweater with stripes and black socks was on a lying woman.  She told me something, but her words broke against my soul, that she no longer wanted to exist, and my words did not fly off my lips.  I was silent.

A truck rushed by and spilled a few leaves, and sped away.  My fingers fiddled with a white pillow.  They were nervous as if they were not mine, but someone had remade them from another person. Remember that here, as an analogue of being, you could only remember yourself. The world in a dream was unreal; many wanderers walked in it— thoughts did not let that ocean swallow you. He could only wander through your veins and would not give anything except the decomposition of the mind and everything around, and only others can walk between the pages of a thousand faces.

I would draw white on white so that no one saw the truth in me, let them hide… not secrets.

A truck boomed, and a worker on the roof sawed a small beam under it.  At the very base of the entrance, the entrance of the dark throat, yellow gas pipes were welded.  Transparent glasses with narrow black arrows were billed. A dark car drove by, followed by a gray one and another dark chess or domino. The road winded like a river, hid among the panel houses and left the city, away from the country, to imagine himself as something more.

The small children’s orange tractor was carrying long pipes; the end of them was now the ground, and iron was heard crying.   Another car, a white truck, and three pedestrians in black, like the same figures, walked tired, preoccupied with their sadness and non-existence, with what they had lost and could not be found.  Two girls in blue jeans and a beige poncho, like leather, went to the red store. 

The laughter of teenagers, the noise of workers, the whistle of a gas burner, the cylinder was almost empty, and the transport was driving in an endless line, turning and returning.  No one thought about this stream.  Everything lost here couldn’t even have a dream. Many children, dimed like their parents, were caterpillars dragging themselves towards the crosswalk at the fork in the road.

The creak of an empty iron box, two hands put it back and straighten it with white gloves.  The tractor drove away onto a large freeway.

Fatigue of non-existence and a city that, like an octopus, sucked the life out of you.  There was no place for human feelings, only feigned boredom— behavior where the border was your pride and unwillingness to go further.  We would never be able to do anything in the children’s world of adults, the toys we all lost and could not find.  

The sun broke through the fog with a mighty ray, dispersed the dreary pigeons on the roof, and the crows, far away, were going to peck apples that had long fallen and turned into unnecessary wine, drank it and became a bird.

And the jackdaw was crying in the distance.

Irina Tall (Novikova) is an artist, graphic artist, illustrator. She graduated from the State Academy of Slavic Cultures with a degree in art, and also has a bachelor’s degree in design.

The first personal exhibition “My soul is like a wild hawk” (2002) was held in the museum of Maxim Bagdanovich. In her works, she raises themes of ecology, in 2005 she devoted a series of works to the Chernobyl disaster, draws on anti-war topics. The first big series she drew was The Red Book, dedicated to rare and endangered species of animals and birds. Writes fairy tales and poems, illustrates short stories. In 2020, she took part in Poznań Art Week.

Links to her social networks:

Instagram & Facebook

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