I CAN’T REMEMBER MY FUTURE NAME
Dwarves with powdered faces,
Acrobat’s costumes, lacking shoes,
throwing knives – they let me pass,
recognising me, even if they can tell
I don’t remember them – nor the others,
the trickster, extending his hand
full of gimmicks, jokes and swords;
even the horsewoman, targeting me
with her bow from eight paces,
she releases – not an arrow – but a dove.
I don’t remember her, and you –
probably now just a passing thought.
I don’t remember anyone – what will be,
but I go on, and dancers and cats
smile when I steal between the knives
and tiptoe over hot coals – they see me
as if I am wading through cotton candy,
clouds, or a flood of chrysanthemums.
I heard tonight they will be auditioning
for a new jester. I will try out for that.
LEAVE A TIP FOR THE RAIN
You wipe wet skin – the path of your fingers
runs west, along collarbones. Your hand
writes hieroglyphs, and there is no shore,
no direction, when the rain entangles
the streets with clouds. Chestnuts
wince along sodden cobblestones,
I’m soaked, and can no longer be
anything but rain, so from the balcony
I run along gutters and into the street –
the murmur of the city will follow me,
flood me, drown me, and time will rain
its minutes down, knocking hard on sleep.
The currents of serenity, if only they could,
would wash the jetty where you felt unease.
Two swifts chatter away in the sky –
please, just leave a tip for the rain.
By Ilzė Butkutė
Translated by Rimas Uzgiris
Ilzė Butkutė’s first book of poetry, Caravan Lullabies won the Zigmas Gaidamavičius-Gėlė Prize in 2011 for most significant debut. She next published a practical guide for workers oppressed by their employers, Fire Your Boss. In 2014, Carnival Moon, her second book of poetry was published. Her poems have been translated into many languages including English.
Rimas Uzgiris is a poet, translator, editor and critic. His work has appeared in numerous journals. He is translation editor and primary translator of How the Earth Carries Us: New Lithuanian Poets. His translations of Judita Vaičiūnaitė are forthcoming from Pica Pica Press. He teaches literature, translation and creative writing at Vilnius University.