in a literary tearoom
1/ in a literary tearoom where coldness gathers
close above the floor: oppression.
over the glasses and next to the humming
voices of retired grammar school teachers: it’s
impossible to move one’s shoulders.
I read the proper way: I read.
you already know that in big cities speech
permeates the posture and willy-nilly implies
2/ exact dimensions of anxiety: how not to be
scared of the determination of one’s time?
certain women in photos of their youth,
ingeborg bachmann, say, cannot look foreign:
with no more smell, you’ll apprehend another
loss: the one whose shoulder yesterday you
pressed your nose to in the dark, he too has
passed away. Even so, it’s all right: movement
disappears from the past and the pressure on
your skin would be uselessly painful.
3/ but you also feel faint: is there anything
you haven’t been through! thus you admit to
calloused knees and a feeble smile, a bitter taste
of coffee; the smell of it clings to your palate.
we remain sitting. it’s still necessary to discuss
why somewhere the top of the oral cavity is
called a roof and elsewhere a palate. and also to
name the fatigue of the dragging day, of slowed
gestures, of a stiff back. finally we agree that any
short dog-name will do.
© Mária Ferenčuhová, translated by Marián Andričík