Poetry by Marius Burokas – in Trafika Europe Corner II.10 by Andrew Singer

Marius Burokas (born 1977, Vilnius) is a Lithuanian poet, writer, and literary translator. He has won several notable prizes for his volumes of poetry, and his work has been translated into eight languages. He is presently editor-in-chief of the Vilnius Review.

Translator Rimas Uzgiris is a Lithuanian-American literary translator, poet, and teacher. His poems and translations have appeared in dozens of periodicals. He has received a US National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship and presently teaches at Vilnius University. 

You can also enjoy a terrific Trafika Europe conversation with Rimas Uzgiris about translating Lithuanian poetry (27-minute audio). And for lots more new Lithuanian literature, check out the journal issue, Trafika Europe 15: Lithuanian Honey Cake – free online.


***

my grandmother
among opulent
gooseberries grass and pollen 
their juice exuding
through her toes


all her loved one’s names 
in black bog madness
lying under shut lids 
run on by
like the tabby cat
she barely knows


all known things
in the fog of her pain
are stuck in cysts
and prick her heart
with keen corners


all her being
in thick pollen
death of summer
is a flash 
as if someone opened a window
with the sun shining


a flash


and then darkness falls
freezing the sap of the grass 
between her toes
while the phloem of pollen
curdles 


a flash


as soon as 
the warmth
is gone
a cat 
crawls out of the sheets


Forty & Sentimental

when you need a body of water, a horizon
(it’s trace still seems so far away),
magpies dressed à la mode in the grass,
the flag of a foreign land on a pole
(to remember where it is you come from),
black coffee on the table, a square of sun
(books opened, not yet begun),
light banter, about nothing – noncommittal,
then to feel how silence hums
(how, saying your name, the world stirs
& the smallest details fall into place),
the train heaving on again into night.


Blind Spot

The blind spot exists in the field of vision where the optic nerve enters the eye. One can’t see in this spot. With some illnesses, this spot spreads, resulting in a larger area of blindness.

1.

it’s just a blind spot in the eye
a flicker of darkness instead of a face

the day ends sooner, always sooner
so I learn to see things by touch

I see my children’s heads with my hands
my love’s shoulder – I know
it must be full of grace

2.

it’s just the landscape peeling:
silhouettes, mist and wind

a dotted line of stones,
the morse code of trees

blind repetition

3.

I’ll have to cross on red

I’ll hold your invisible 
hand

I’ll close my eyes


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Read ELNet’s Trafika Europe Corner II.1, Trafika Europe Corner II.2, Trafika Europe Corner II.3, Trafika Europe Corner II.4, Trafika Europe Corner II.5Trafika Europe Corner II.6, Trafika Europe Corner II.7, Trafika Europe Corner II.8 and Trafika Europe Corner II.9.

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