Translated by Mia Dintinjana
Near the City Gate / Blizu mestnih vrat
The other Veronica will have left home
with a purseful of sestertii.
Morning will be fine, the sky cloudless.
The merchant will offer her a length of azure silk
and wool at a discount.
They will exchange a few words about the weather,
that it has not rained for a long time
and how the Cedron now is only a turbid scrap of water
that crawls down the dry riverbed. How
there are less fish from the Galillee
and the cost of salt has gone up.
She will take the wool.
Summer will be dry, the pasture poor,
and the following winter harsh.
Some sage, horseradish to go with the meat.
A basket of almonds,
oil for the feast. And linen.
Security will be tight. A soldier
on every corner, a checkpoint in every square.
At the city gate, the guards
will examine everything
except the linen.
Flax strengthened with hemp
and washed white with soapweed.
Double-width, finely woven, not for a shroud
but for two fair shirts.
She will take the fabric and do with it
as she sees fit.
When her grandchildren ask her what it was like,
she will remember everything, even the price of linen
and the smell of spring.Translated by Mia Dintinjana
As in Bruegel’s paintings, people / Ljudje so, vzeti z Breughlovih slik
As in Bruegel’s paintings, people
were peacefully buying groceries, jostling one another in the queue
and signing purchase slips.
I learned two days later,
browsing the web,
I thought of you for a second
because Miłosz means a lot to you
and you had the chance to meet him.
Then I was pressed for time
and it didn’t cross my mind again,
until we were sitting on the sofa
some two weeks later and I mentioned it in passing:
“You know he died?”
You nodded, “He left early in the day.
He was right. Mornings are best
for the long road before you.”
The book you had bought me
was his last.
Full of brightness, tiny poems
so luminous and simple.
As if he had readied everything,
aired the room, opened the window shutters
and left the balcony open for the cats.Translated by Mia Dintinjana