The Romanian Riveter: SEQUENCES by Ana Pușcașu, translated by the author

to learn more about the world before
you’ll have to ask the youngest among us

those who sleep a lot and barely cry are just ripe

once the coal dust hardens their skin
they start forgetting meaningful sequences
they get old, contaminating each other

those who sleep a lot and barely cry will show you

their heart
beating to the rhythm of the recycling centres
expanding over collapsed structures and machines
it will build you a spiral staircase, warily
overlooking the beams, to the outskirts

we’re getting old, they’ll tell you, just watch
the sparkling spines of those magnetic men
rummaging, searching each workshop
skinning conveyor-belt layers
fiddling their concert-worthy electrodes, harvesting nails
gauging heavy vices abandoned on workbenches
bending their backs, cursing, and lifting furthermore

rummaging, searching, skinning, fiddling
harvesting, gauging, cursing, and lifting furthermore

just before
the heat tightens like a screw in their skulls
forcing them to zigzag between ventilation ducts

we’re getting old, they’ll tell you, but watch
just watch the poverty, a lazy mother tucking in
fences, thrift stores, and gambling establishments
just watch the defeated world leaders
chewing crocuses in their nuclear bunkers
watch the rise of the first unforgiving diseases
women orbiting around containers
packed with sweaty naked bankers

watch the sky, the house none of your
loved ones will leave to buy bread

watch them: the volunteers waiting
to board planes about to get pulverised
by intercontinental ballistic missiles

By Ana Pușcașu

Translated by the author

Read The Romanian Riveter in its entirety here.


Ana Pușcașu is a Romanian poet and scholar. Her first poetry collection was published in 2012 and her poems have been published in several Romanian literary journals. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the West University of Timișoara, Romania.

Category: September 2020 – The Romanian RiveterTranslations

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