She came to buy herself a brand-new face. It seemed too dear. A frock would have to do. That got her in a fitting room where she became psychotic. Was it the light? Her skin? That ghostly face? Like death had just molested her or worse, that’s how she felt, her lungs wrung dry of air. And thinking of death, she numbly hung the frock back on the rack. The registers gobbled money. Nothing broke. Then in a flash of darkness they appeared, the centuries before her birth, she grew so light and calm, as calm as Barbie hair. Weila, weiala, walla. She still had eyes. So she left.
By Menno Wigman
Translated by David Colmer
From WINDOW-CLEANER SEES PAINTINGS
Published by Arc Publications (2016)
By permission of Arc Publications
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Menno Wigman was a Dutch poet, anthologist and translator, who became one of the most celebrated poets in the Netherlands. During his lifetime he published five poetry collections, compiled several anthologies and translated a large number of European poets, including Baudelaire, Rilke and Laske-Schüler. In 2013, he won the Awater Poetry Prize for the collection My Name is Legion, and was posthumously awarded the Ida Gerhardt Poëzieprijs in 2018.
David Colmer is an Australian translator, writer and editor who lives in Amsterdam. He has translated more than sixty book-length works of Dutch-language literature and has won a host of international prizes for his work.