The Queer Riveter: From TRACING THE UNSPOKEN by Milan Selj, translated by Harvey Vincent

There’s a letter downstairs, waiting for me by the front door. The address is written in square letters I recognize straightaway. Trembling, I hide the envelope under a pillow. In the evening I summon enough courage to open it. As I write to you it is almost midnight. The two arms on the clock will soon be together. Like you and me. For a moment I almost believe you. Your games are lies. Nothing but lies.

We were sitting on a bench at the bus stop. Our eyes locked, avoiding the gazes of strangers and provoking them with our disdain. Later the descending road overtook the howling wind of disapproval. And if you said: The day is only an inevitable contrast to the night, I would have agreed. On the journey, our eyes sparkled with hints. The evening was a game of questions. You answered none of mine.

Around Christmas he became itchy and home-sick. I bought him a pair of shoes, a one-way ticket and credit for his mobile phone. Standing at the window I waited for his call while watching the first snowflakes. They always cover my restlessness with silence. I kept telling myself I was right to send him away. Will we be closer if he decides to come back?

A shaved head is resting next to mine. I try to embrace his quick breath after the spill of burning sperm. Above the window sill, rays of sunlight slip through a slit in the curtains. Slowly, like an elegant jackal, he sneaks out of bed, leaving behind the impression of a sensuous shadow. I let him steal the last word before he leaves. His sharp fragrance floats in the air, enveloping my still quivering body.

By Milaj Selj

Translated by Harvey Vincent

From TRACING THE UNSPOKEN published by A Midsummer Night’s Press (2019).

Read The Queer Riveter in its entirety here.


Milan Selj is a Slovenian poet, translator and publicist. He is the author of four poetry collections, and the co-author of a satirical epistolary novel, Spolitika. His most recent collection, Slediti neizgovorjenemu, is forthcoming in English (translated by Harvey Vincent) from A Midsummer Night’s Press under the title Tracing the Unspoken.


Harvey Vincent is an American actor and director living in Paris. He is the author of the screenplay Anneliese and the play Jack L – A Movie Mogul Mirage, and his reviews have appeared in Time Out London.

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