*** life’s not an equation when you pull her tail she doesn’t break into a very long ‘muuu’ to reach the stars life’s not an equation when you hug her you only feel dry skin on yours & no argument kilograms of hangover explode our heads like a grenade in a drainpipe the equation is a string of accusatives & nominatives eat them for breakfast & lick your fingers
*** you fell asleep with your back to me like a broken jar of zacusča I’m looking for you under the duvet like a lifebuoy the memories deflate in the water bed we sit here quietly nothing crashes in the morning we eat cereal we play games with milk & how we got here paranoid as in the beginning of the world
*** the body’s asleep as an expression I’m more awake than ever I’m more awake & I hear rats nibbling on human wrists I hear the water boiling & how a fly hits the window I’m polishing the room I see him get onto the chair & how I slowly evaporate from my body in a surplus of yellow wax the body’s asleep as an expression the wind moves a little nothing is more static than this waking state
*** an outstretched hand catches the steam that comes out of our mouths she plays it with her fingers like a puppet until it evaporates in small points brilliant street dancers they are swirling ghosts we smile at them with our heads turned they will do something tonight they will manage to sneak in between the bricks & fall asleep there
*** tomorrow we will be fishermen old & poor with jeans cut at the knees our house is made of wood with chairs, tables, a library wooden forks and spoons we will fish & we will sleep in the cold grass our children will come out from under the floor they will slowly open their eyes we will light a campfire we will grow so big that we will take back with us a sample from heave
By Mariana Gunță
Translated by Antuza Genescu
Read The Romanian Riveter in its entirety here.
Mariana Gunță (1994–2020) was a member of the Pavel Dan Literary Circle and published poems in some of the most important Romanian literary magazines. Her post-mortem debut collection will be published in the near future.
Antuza Genescu (b. 1968) is a freelance translator, teacher and writer. Besides several volumes of Romanian poetry and art albums, which she has translated into English, her work also includes translations into Romanian of various poets around the world (Sudeep Sen, George Szirtes, Fiona Sampson, Jean Portante, Alice Notley, Erkut Tokman, Kama Sywor Kamanda), as well as science fiction authors like Gene Woolfe, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Vernor Vinge, Orson Scott Card, Robin Hobb, Stephen King.