A PICTURE FROM CHERNOBYL
Translated by Mirza Puric
as my scars suffer from butterflies drying flowers in me,
they are resistant to my body,
just as they are to subsisting on postcards from Chernobyl
and the poems you dreamt up. that house in which deafness has ears
no longer lives in anyone. we hear each other best when we don’t.
when we are as mind-blind as barefoot boys in blue shirts
who don’t play at war. or as the moon which hampers our
cramping car because I love taking absentee photos of you.
I feel that I’m part of the ribbon when you take me by the receiver
instead of by the hand – I quieten down the telecommunication of silence.
BY HOW MANY PERCENT DID ORDINARY THINGS LOVE US?
I love hotels in which mosses eat absences
for I am an apple emptier than apples are empty of me.
in this country in which shillings sound like seedlings
we talk of world war three
in someone’s sitting room
full of postponed bicycle trips to denmark and back.
trifles falling out of my pockets give me away, the shampoo ingredients
I turn into before I ask someone serenely to spill the shampoo
lest I become the most wistful person I know.
it’s as if light bulbs have never fallen from the sky onto our heads for fear of injury.
it was banal and stupid, what we talked about. he was a really bad dancer.
SOMEONE BURST OUT CRYING IN THE STATE OF DENMARK
I am full of fine fruits but fine fruits are full of bile
just as the world is full of abandoned bath tubs,
just as I like mirrors because of all those who have never seen their own faces.
how to suffocate evening news with kitchen fabrics
and not hear when someone bursts out crying in the state of denmark,
when your cloud-bearing silence is a note on the sensitivity of all things?
the news is the same whether I watch or not
so I try to neither watch nor not watch
in this hotel named after europe.
still, some people are very kind, they don’t interrupt my birds.
THIRD MODE OF ATARAXY
I shall take a night taxi and escape to the language area
where you blanch almonds and to the ramparts behind which
lemons grow unripe in advance. never mind. I offer you
soundless, endless strolls, just snuggle up to me in silence,
sleep stealthily, don’t whisper or rustle,
though there are no language areas
which grant us lemonity.
first of all, I've drawn blood from the calendar, broken the clock hands
that jutted out of my venules, spilt mild milk into your inbox, as if lymph.
A Kitchen for the Absent
wherever I go I take with me only melancholia besunned on a rope in a room
into which a deep detachable dark drips doubly.
and sometimes from the clasped mouth of darkness I take a kitchenfull of butterflies
like a box of spices left in us overnight before we fell asleep
in the mirror having failed to remember its brokenness.
and I wonder if there’s enough of me to notice when I’m gone
just as lavishly as he is gone
and why is it that when I say we I authorise the petting of nothing?
across this openness, which has cost us, too, stretches a toxic
sky like a chewing gum hung from the stars.
Mirza Purić is a literary translator, most recently of Faruk Šehić’s Under Pressure (Istros Books, 2019) and, in co-translation with Ellen Elias Bursać, of Miljenko Jergović’s Inshallah, Madonna, Inshallah (forthcoming , Archipelago Books). His work has appeared in Agni, Asymptote, EuropeNow, H.O.W. (online) and elsewhere.