01 April 2009

Valzhyna Mort

[from Valzhyna Mort's Factory of Tears, translated from Belarusian by Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright and Franz Wright, Copper Canyon, 2008]

The Music of Locusts

what i wouldn't give

to be a small freckle on the wind's nose
to ride in a convertible
beside a middle-aged man
a teenager will do

it's as if everything that has happened
is nothing but Security which you have to pass through
in order to get into summer
god tossed a heart like a coin
inside me
as if i were a pond
he made a wish
and lingered in the air
and everything belongs to me but hope

the mountains are kneeling like runners at the starting line
their green t-shirts billowing in the wind
then they are gigantic tortoises

he will offer to leave me

the color of his skin is
like the color of the sun at dusk
and the road is parting in front of the wheels
like an army of locusts as it rushes ahead of us

like god's stray eyelashes
the stars are falling -- more light! more!
god has no time to make a wish
all he can do is cry out faster! faster!

it's impossible to fall asleep next to this man
at night all that's left of my body
is the music of locusts

From Florida Beaches

The sun is jumping among the clouds like a yellow monkey.
In the water -- children -- future monarchs
laughing and marking their territory.

The beach pours like an overturned jar of honey
and waves lick the shore with their watery mouths.
In the water -- boys -- future mages
painting suns with the brushes between their legs.

Only after choking you realize
that all the salt of the earth is in the ocean's water.
That fish --
according to nature's currency -- are a sort of coin
that is easy to catch,
while birds -- paper money above the law --
they even put the wind in the doggy position
and sliding on its back they reach the water
and leave their watermarks.

You are licking sour honey off your lips
and the air gets stuck in salivated skin
like a fly in a web.

In the water are children -- ape's descendants --
pissing shamelessly on God's mirror.

Factory of Tears (Lannan Literary Selections)

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