by Vasyl Stefanyk

Early in the morning she combed her hair. Autumn rays forced their way through the window pane.
They slid down her hair, like fine silvery threads spun from pieces of gold.
As she combed her hair, the broad leaves of the walnut tree near the window slowly swayed chasing the rays from one window to the next.
The rustle of the leaves crept into her thoughts. She let the comb glide through her hair, slowly, and then she stopped.
She leaned her elbows on the table, her hair cascaded down, covering her shoulders and the back of the chair.
A waterfall of golden waves. The falling water had carved out a path, and now was washing away at her neck.
That neck was washed clean, like a white rock.
"It's autumn now. Leaves, are you whispering that he doesn't love me anymore? Are you repeating what people say, that I'm not worthy because I gave into temptation? Or are you rustling with his thoughts: that I'm too old, that I can't be loved? Tell me, tell me, what are you whispering about?"
She bowed her head into her folded arms. Her hair fell over them.
"Tell me, tell me dear walnut tree."
She started to cry. The tears rolled down her arms, like drops of spray from a waterfall.
And in the window the broad leaves of the walnut tree whispered: "Just comb your hair, silly, he loves you!"

translated from the Ukrainian by Virlana Tkacz & Wanda Phipps

stf3.doc 6/18/95

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