THE WORK

by Petr Borkovec


THE WORK

THE WORK, THE river’s watermark, the swell

of sunset on the west side of the sky.

Soft folds of air caught in the current’s turn

as long as the last bird has yet to fly.

A foot-bridge propped up on the surface, footsteps,

a wrinkled beach, a pair of shoes, and sand,

although withdrawn, which watches you discreetly,

ice, which razors you, the strokes. Point

of no return. Man on a punt, depicted,

perhaps observing his float’s glint and play.

Who now encounters only things themselves.

The roar and thunder. The foot-bridge rubbed away.

Translated from the Czech by Justin Quinn

STAV VODY

STAV VODY, RÍCNÍ režim, práce, puls

západní strany oblohy ted vecer,

v záhybu reky mekké ctverce vzduchu,

dokud je poslední pták neodvlece.

Z hladiny trcí lávka, kroky,

vráscitá pláž, skopnuté boty, písek,

co si te nenápadne prohlíží,

led, co te prorízne, i tempa. Nevrátí se

nic. Snad rybár v lodce, na obraze,

pozorující odstín svého splávku,

ten, co se shledává už jenom s predmety.

Hrmení a hukot. Otloukají lávku.