The Bookshelf

by Niillas Holmberg


The Bookshelf

I don’t want to go to bed, I said

and threw the damn book down

mother gave me a look as if
I had slapped my sister

 

I read the Bible
before I sowed my wild oats

before I learned to sow my seed

on infertile soil

 

I was still a little lamb
when mother got cancer
I didn’t realise till then
that the Red Sea was but a teardrop

compared to her silent love

 

during her last weeks
people came to say farewell
and when the followers of Christ lost hope

I fetched my fishing rod
and lures

 

I heard the news
going through wedding photos
I kept on shuffling them

until the very last

smelling the threat of a holy flood
but the dam didn’t break

 

something urged me to make a coffin

so I got ready for a trip to the forest

weeks went by, spring days
bright and full of hope

but the nights, the nights!

 

one night I heard through the wall
my sister complaining to my father:

“Mummy is dead, my brother doesn’t cry

he’s too damn busy building that bookshelf!”

Girjehildu

Mun in hálit nohkkat
ja mánáidgirji girddii láhttái

eadni mulggádii
dego livččen čorbmadan oappá

 

lohken Bippala
ovdal go gilvigohten siepmaniid

ovdal go ávžžuhedje
gilvit guorba eatnamii

 

in lean go láppis
go eadni fáhtehalai borrasii
dalle mun fuomášin
ahte Rukses mearra ii lean go ganjal

su jaskes ráhkesvuođa ektui

 

olbmot fitne mieđušteamen

ja go oidnen vanhurskáid

dorvvasteamen Ipmilii

mun ohcen stákku

ohcen vuokkaid

 

ledjen bláđemin headjagovaid
go jápmaságat jovde
ja go govat nohke
dovden bassi dulvvi oaguheamen

muhto buođđu doalai

 

ráhkkanin meahccái
mus bohciidii dárbu duddjot gisttu

giđđabeaivvit nu mo álo čuovgadat ja dievva gesiid
muhto eahkedat, eahkedat

 

ovtt’ eahket gullen oappá
bárgumin áhččái seainne duohken:
“Viellja ii čiero vaikke eadni lea jápmán
ii astta eará go snihkket dan biro girjehildu!”