Debeljak Aleš:
A River And A Young Woman

We sit in the shadows of the monastery wall - or what’s

left of it, the next westbound bus due in half an hour,

tears gathering in your eyes - or maybe it just seems

that way, I see you crying at the swimming pool, when

you were six, washing chlorine from your eyes, how you

sing in a bold voice, in the orange grove whose entrance

has been closed to foreigners for decades, thousands and

thousands of miles away, on another continent, how

you pout when you can’t say what you want, like me

now, when for the first time I realize I’m not with you,

not under the same sky, in the distance the resting

workers murmur in Spanish, you shiver, no longer

thinking of burning deserts and dream landscapes,

places you want to visit before straying too far to return,

I lean close to hear what’s  on your mind: no, I don’t

know who owns the world - if that’s what you’re asking,

all the other unnecessary encounters disappear from

this sequence, your face blurs: my loneliness is the

same as yours.

Translated by Chris Merill & Aleš Debeljak