Translated from the Georgian by Jean Sprackland & Natalia Bukia-Peters

 

What are you thinking with, Scatterbrain?
says Mother. Use your head!
Scorch marks on the white sheet,
says Mother, and
pool of spilt milk on the floor,
says Mother,
frowning at fingers
stuck in the iron door.
As for me,
I think with my kneecap.
I think with my nipples:
I should meet you today.
This is my old song,
sung until it became
a lining to our empty greetings –
sung silently,
back to front.

 

Switch off all the chandeliers,
the wall lamps and standard lamps,
the moon and sun and stars,
and bury them far from the road.
Shut off the noise, the water,
shut the door, the book, the suitcase.
On the silver tray of celebration
serve as a first course
my own self, followed
by another’s,
mouthful by slow mouthful:
not bread, but bars of gold
I must learn to eke out.
This is my old song,
sung until it became
a lining to our empty greetings –
sung silently,
back to front.

 

Anyway, I did not die.
I lined the sky, inside-out.
The migrating birds
eat my freckles.
From the damp sky,
polished with cold, I hang.
Not a sound can reach me here,
not even a breath.
It’s as if
I could pick seeds from the cotton plant,
the edge of the earth
is so near and so simple.
I sang this old song of mine
until it became
a lining to our empty greetings –
sung silently,
back to front.

 

 

 

Photograph © Reza E

The Poker
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