in the city of dogs

by Mária Ferenčuhová

in the city of dogs


the crystals have grown too fast: to crush

between one’s teeth, to scratch the neck. to

copy the curves on canvas silently with slender


the water here by the roadside: perhaps to

preserve sludge by the process of sewage

disposal, according to an old secret formula.

the smell — the will to survive, the smell of

cheese and fish.

and small stains on the surface: none other

than yesterday’s delicious dogfood.



mice are fast, too:

underground. in colours. under the seat. they

seek food. in between two trains.

they went completely deaf: guided — like you

— by the trembling of wheels and legs.



the last shells. of previous days. (to preserve

sludge by the process of sewage disposal).

another of your faces in the darkened mirror.

each time belonging to a race that is enchanted.



you feel sorry for the slow ones, for all those

who stopped to show their palm and bare

forearm, all those who let their private skin

slip out from the sleeve exposed to full view.

and if a casual smile stops on you, it will

remain casual.

what you wear under your hair

here too is mostly called by one of the

common first names.

© Mária Ferenčuhová, translated by Marián Andričík