* * *

He complains about how slow it goes, the changing of his guitar strings.

Meanwhile I am underlining some phrases in a book where

the twentieth century has yet to finish its course and two people

are dancing in a seaside hotel.

The air is blushing under his fingers

and the greedy tongues of all the songs he’s yet to learn

flash across the frets; it’s the middle of the week, at twilight.


It’s such a pleasant thought to have: that the middle of the week, at twilight

would last so very long.

The radiator continues to hum from under the window

while I’m nodding  absent-mindedly in this room:

a flying carpet above one, and a second, and a third city,

and beneath one, and a second,

and a third sky.


My body, in its wisdom, knows best: not too far away from here

I remember neither the room nor the strings,

nor the book or the twilight.


But in a seaside hotel

a dancing couple turns its back on the author.


This poem was translated into English by its author, Teodora Lalova.

First published in Bulgarian and English CrossIN, series of the Bulgarian online journal Crosspoint, link: http://crosspoint.mediabg.eu/?p=29057&fbclid=IwAR1ueyoSYa0HCEtCRDQaZJICzVfIg0r7N27vbZDeANDz_jWZi1DO_scD6SQ





* * *




As in all the places where we will arrive for the first time

We follow the cathedral’s bells: it is the easiest way to uncover

The inside of the city. We follow the smell of roasted meat, of rye bread, of coffee:

Our bodies, almost transparent from the airport’s neon and noise

Demand the taste of something simple.


We sleep pressed tightly together, we, children of our own restlessness,

Sometimes finding order in the rhythm of the other.


We take notes – a kindling for future dreams: Scandinavian painters,

Overheard conversations, the preferred routes of the seagulls,

And a theatre play scheduled on the day when we will be gone.


A melody is getting in our way. A cut in our memory, a song we’ve heard

Near some other sea. We call her wind,

We call her November, we call her

We will return

And also

We were here, and also

The sweetness of fear, that tiny little joy:

We are strangers; our names are not from here – unpronounceable -

Were we ever at all.


This poem was translated into English by its author, Teodora Lalova.

First published (only in Bulgarian) on the platform Kadar 25,





* * *


We hadn’t been born yet when this happened.


Our cities were moving around their own distant orbits,

and the Earth was, in fact, a star.


A golden earring tore from a girl's tiny ear,

and fell in the garden of the Tzar.


It was August 23rd.


That same minute (only, in May) you'll be crossing

Rue aux Laine. Lost in thoughts about the summer, your face

would be sun-kissed, your hands fiddling with a pair of keys.


You'd enter the park, you'd stop

before the fountain—the water would be laughing. Something golden would ring before your eyes.

The bronze statues around the fence

would be holding their breaths; it's of utmost importance now that you notice.


The girl runs her fingers ‘round her neck; she's anxious.

Lighter by a few grams,

she misses the rhythm of her own steps.

And in that very moment I would lock the door.
I’d hear the ninth hour arriving in the church’s bells in Sablon.

You’d stretch an arm towards the water. Drop the keys.
Forty-eight bronze statues would sigh; your ears
would catch a memory of a language unrecognizable to you. I’d feel the urge
to sing.

Someone catches up to the girl. Hands her the earring.
She’s smiling, Nevsky’s bells are tolling nine, it’s 1983.
A waterdrop remains in her palm – your city and mine are parting in the future.

I go out in the street; you’re leaving the park.
It’s still morning when we meet. I don’t know why I greet you in my own language.


This poem was translated into English by Gabriela Manova.

The Bulgarian original text (author Teodora Lalova) first appeared in Kadar 25,






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