Polonskaya’s second book with Zephyr reflects unflinchingly upon themes of exile and the anguish it can cause, home, war, authoritarianism, and personal relationships. Trains and ships figure in many poems, but their overall trajectory take us to the edge of a precipice: of loss, separation, death, and mortality. The award-winning poet lives in Germany because of threats she received in Russia after writing poems of political dissent, including poems for Kursk: An Oratorio Requiem, about the 2000 sinking of the Russian submarine. Those oratorio poems were included in Paul Klee’s Boat, published by Zephyr in 2013, and short-listed for both the 2014 PEN Poetry in Translation Award and the 2014 Best Translated Book Award. This bilingual edition of To the Ashes will allow English-speaking and Russian readers to read Polonskaya’s latest work, as she can no longer publish her poetry in her native country.