Anna Akhmatova: Instead of a preface

Instead of a preface:

In the terrible years of the Yezhov terror, I spent seventeen months in the prison lines of Leningrad. Once, someone "recognized" me. Then a woman with bluish lips standing behind me, who, of course, had never heard me called by name before, woke up from the supor to which everyone had succumbed and whispered in my ear (everyone spoke in whispers there):
     "Can you describe this?"
     And I answered: "Yes, I can."
Then something that looked like a smile passed over what had once been her face.

Anna Akhmatova from Carolyn Forche's anthology Against Forgetting.