‘The day fell like a veil’: Words and art by Irina Tall

The day fell like a veil on the gray feet of the houses, as if a giant had left his footprints and stone thickets grew out of them, a small undergrowth with dark window slits.

I thought, saw, felt a lot and could not forgive myself, I could not wherever I went. Sometimes I ride a bus, yellow or green, a memory of summer in the white melancholy of a winter day.

And there, in the past, there was a big city and towers made of glass and iron remains, erected on many pedestals, monuments to the sky, they sank in the blue of the clouds and the fog of time enveloped them.

And I didn’t write anything down, not even remembering my past, just the night and some skinny guy who put an Uber in an Uber with dark squares on the back side door.

And I don’t remember his face, trying and straining my memory, he haunts me like a ghost, I remember what nation he was, and then, probably, from the unfulfillment of his dream, he went crazy, became a madman in time, like a traveler …

And there are films left, French, Chinese, Japanese and no others, white pours into my palms, melts, burns with cold ice and floats pouring into the lakes. I leave my shirt, white, tear it, open the span of a narrow door and disappear, flying like a bird into night dreams. Can’t find you there? And how are you!? Once I walked through a green meadow and could do a lot, but now I’m aiming like a ball at the old one and there my heart is torn into thousands of pages, I can’t read them.


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. She draws various fantastic creatures: unicorns, animals with human faces, she especially likes the image of a man – a bird – Siren. In 2020, she took part in Poznań Art Week. Her work has been published in magazines: Gupsophila, Harpy Hybrid Review, Little Literary Living Room and others. In 2022, her short story was included in the collection “The 50 Best Short Stories”, and her poem was published in the collection of poetry “The wonders of winter”.