le dépays

(1982 — 2002)

ch. m.

you say that being on first name terms

has no other meaning than to indicate the gap

between one who has travelled and the one

who is writing now.

I am presuming on a basis of affinity with

the one who is just now reading in the distance:

with you.

you say that where the person is with

whom you are on first name terms, time is

a river that runs only at night.

foreign words are here now and they are yours:

an arrow, it’s said, has no clearer aim than life:

what matters is the politeness shown to the bow.

 

I/

a twisted bough is accepted by the tree just like

a straight one. at least at first sight. you count

the leaves, look for insects.

the empty nest is in the grass, though, and it is

pointless to blame the wind.

 

II/

you rest your eyes on brown, a dog’s colour,

you remember arnold who jumped under a car

because of a doe.

you can’t lean against a bar stool, even the wall

avoids you. you recall the doe that jumped into

the flooded river because the island was sinking.

To blame the river is pointless too.

 

× × ×

before you dare to write, you distort the sequence

of breaths: you deny the existence of

the event: you dissolve its boundaries, because

speech will create its own: impose breaths and

firmness of the voice.

what would do is a fragile:

window, moulded glass to which you gradually

add substances with different melting points.

what would do is to line up all first syllables into

a chain…

then to take over responsibility. to soothe it:

that after the first fall, its shards will become

unbreakable.

 

× × ×

lines began to run out of the frames too often,

allegedly their present demarcation will not

do. colours settle on any surfaces. they dare to

interfere in words. the frames therefore move

to other areas. the only thing that remains

valid is said to be linked neither with speech

nor senses.

the vector: the carrier: the clear direction. a

heavy vehicle, calmly sinking into muddy soil.

 

× × ×

I’ll speak you. but as if the drawing hand still

belonged

to another, and the reclining body to the soil,

unbuttoned, soft,

I say: jump, and I say: to see you still white,

downhill, aslant.

I don’t know when I write and I don’t know

where — space is random, created by the

coordinates of fingers on keys, multidimensional,

dissociated by movement, being restored.

to the place with no curve sewn by a pen,

connection with no sounds bound by breath,

you still doubt the possibility of speech.

for now, you are still the interior of thinking,

and your skin is the interior here, too.

© Mária Ferenčuhová, translated by Marián Andričík