From BEASTS by Krišjānis Zeļģis, translated by Jayde Will

while I was asleep at the wheel

and hit a deer

you were all sitting in the

back reeling off jokes

and telling stories of the comical

misunderstandings during your trips

it seemed like a dream until your brother

called me and said that I’d have to pay for

the paint job

light cheerful music was playing

as if nothing was going to happen

and now a beautiful brown creature will never

crunch sweet spring sprouts anymore


oh what a feast we had

with venison olives marinated steaks and classic

delicious cutlets in different sauces

and potatoes with the hidden happiness inside flooded the guests’ faces

if I were a deer I’d be delighted in

this surprisingly practical approach to death


By Krišjānis Zeļģis

Translated by Jayde Will

Krišjānis Zeļģis is not only a poet, but has also been a metalworker, baker and librarian. He now lives in Riga and works as a brewer, enjoying bouldering in his spare time. This broad experience inspires and informs his writing. Zeļģis’s first collection All Those Things was published in 2010, and nominated for several awards.

Jayde Will is the translator of Memoirs of a Life Cut Short by Ričardas Gavelis and has co-edited the Anthology of New Baltic Poetry (Parthian, 2018). His translations of Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian authors have been published in numerous journals, including Poetry Review, Trafika and Mantis.

Photo of Krišjānis Zeļģis by Valdis Jansons

Category: The Baltics RiveterTranslations


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