by Pär Hansson


The morning sun bestowed light and glitter over the river and the sparse forest in

front of the river. On this morning people were suspended by cords from the trees

behind our house. Children’s bodies hung from the trees; they bore the heads of

adults and the features of adults. Their faces were large and ripe like fruits, while

their bodies were smaller, atrophied. I took note of that difference between bodies

and heads.

The cords were secured under their arms, and their shoulders shot up toward

their round cheeks. They hung as in harnesses and certain individuals smiled at

me, tired smiles, as if they had recently been rescued from the sea or from the

scene of an accident. Some of them I recognized, others not at all. But there they

were before me, gathered up and real as a circle of friends. Behind them the sun

poured its light over the water in the river, and now they all smiled at me and I no

longer felt nervous.

I walked around under the tall birches and touched their dry bodies, their

reddened cheeks, their feet like spears pointing toward the earth. I whistled a wellknown

tune, I imitated the wind and set everything I saw in motion. The

children’s dry hands swayed in the wind. The heavy heads of their parents swung

and smiled. The body and the head and the space between them, gaping sunlight

that gave and gave.

© Pär Hansson, translated by Rika Lesser