A pauper dries his rags in a shady nook in the wind.

A girl, walking a little dog, stops, as the dog is about to answer a call of nature, and looks at it with com-passion. All of it is so natural you cannot help thinking that the girl shall treat with the same compassion a big friend's call of nature.

Children by their multifarious voices remind you of birds of paradise. The clouds that come every now and then, bringing cold and shade, make them cease their singing for a little while. But when they understand there's no danger looming above them, they sing with doubled vigour - to overcome their fear; and when the sun breaks through the whey of the clouds, they sing three times as vigorously.

The faded, thinning linen waves in the wind like a war banner. The soldier's exhausted eyes look at life, his enemy.

The girl wears green shorts and a yellow T-shirt. The school stadium where she is walking her dog, has mixed up these two colours densely to provide a background for an onlooker's gaze: an August.

In July, children stop singing only after dark; at night, it is birds that sing. The relay race of sounds. In Au-gust, the fog crawls over the earth by night; birds hide from it at the lofts. It is also not hot enough for a siesta at noon in August. Children.

A foot steps from the panel onto the suburban turf.

Nothing occurs for a long time. Your look is occluded in every direction. The hazy bits of the sunset oc-cupy too little room. Ok. Dullness. The skies stop showing blue as if with the express purpose of putting all living creatures underneath them to sleep, are overgrown with the old grey down. The down hangs not far up above the earth and leaves man and animal oppressed. Drouth.

In the evening, the dog's yaps are transmitted in the seemingly liquid air. The sunset is magnificent as on the day of Judgment. The dog has forgotten that yesterday and all the days before yesterday the light disappeared, and it is scared.

Afghanistan is the teenage gangs slang term for the suburban area in Irkutsk where the author lives.

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Copyright ╘ 2004 by Sergey Karpukhin
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