The Way of Things


You are about four or five

and your father seats you

on a burning stove.

Naked, before the bath.

You excuse his forgetfulness

with your fright and

explain his insults and punches

on account of your cries of pain.

You do not know what hurts more.

And you might think,

maybe forever,

that the man you love the most

has to always


hurt you.

That it is the way of things

for you.

Translated by Lada Smejkalová



A Painting


You’ve left behind a painting

– a copy of a port by Isaac Levitan –

that you were painting together, the first

and weighty proof of the impossibility to meet

at a place or time;

you started – each from your own side –

and though you’d

sketched everything carefully,

you never met

in the middle.


You’re left with a painting

of a burdensome memory.

Always, you’ve been sitting

with your back to it.

And never, have you ever taken

it off the wall.



The First Advent


The last apples on the trees

are blazing red into a frosty day

like a silent reproach

to the summer.


Invisible birds are softly tinkling

in the breeze.

A breath. Evaporating from the lips.

The cry of December

hanging on the verge of release.




The Weight of Sorrow


The cold dark spring

of suffering, the moan, that

can’t heave out on its own.


And the impudent green of meadows, blue

blackness of the spruces around,

the spurt of an unstoppable


in such disharmony with the weight

of my sorrow.


Paunchy leaden clouds

carry my rain.




The Treasure in the Attic


In grandma’s attic, there was

an old painting, we found it

by chance among the jumble and

placed it among the exhibits

in our newly founded

museum. To me, it was the most

beautiful painting I’ve ever

seen. Via neat and light strokes 

a nice road led

across Saliger’s Bridge. It seemed

unbelievable to me that

you were able to paint it once, just

a little older than us

when we discovered it.

So, you used to be an artist!


It felt like a stretched rope

between us.

One could either

walk along it to reach the other

or keep the






Leaning into the Winter


The ground already cooling

and the low sun

won’t change it with its rays

so bright cutting the forest

to pieces.

In the shadow, the dew

won’t dry,

the mouth bitter

with the smell of the mouldered leaves.

Only a few are left

on the young beech branches,

breaking the silence of the noon

with a quiet and persuasive whisper:

the world’s so vast – and your heart?


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