She loves so demandingly
wanting to prove she isn’t a mistake
on the map of the world
sticking her stories into the cracks
of the house’s fissured wall
She demonstrates so desperately
that she is good
She traces protective symbols on scarred faces
promising eternal success and immortality
She lets them climb on and climb off
Lets them sweep in and not clean up
She draws an orange on her breasts, hands over darts, and says:
Imagine it’s the sun
You’re not allowed to hit that bit
There won’t be anything to eat
By Madara Gruntmane
Translated by Mārta Ziemelis and Richard O’Brien
Madara Gruntmane is a poet and pianist. Born in Liepāja, Latvia, she works as a producer of cultural events. Gruntmane received the Annual Latvian Literature’s Reader’s Choice Award for her first poetry collection, Narkozes (2015). She is working on her second book of poems.
Mārta Ziemelis is a translator and poet, who was born in Germany and grew up there and in the Middle East. She translates from Latvian, French and Italian to English. Her poetry was first published in the literary journals UC Review and Garm Lu. Her first novel-length translation, The Water of Life by Daniel Marchildon, was published by Odyssey Books in July 2015.
Richard O’Brien is a Teaching Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. He writes poetry, plays and academic criticism, translates from French and Latvian, and has edited anthologies for the Emma Press, where he is currently a commissioning editor.