Zajc Dane:
Lump Of Ashes

For a long time you’ve carried fire in your mouth.

For a long time you’ve hidden it there.

Behind a bony fence of teeth.

Pressed within the white magic circle of your lips.

You know that no one must catch scent

of the smoke from your mouth.

You remember that crows will kill a white crow.

So you lock your mouth.

And hide the key.


But then you feel a word in your mouth.

It echoes in the cavern of your head.


Then you begin to search for the key to your mouth.

For a long time you search.


When you find it, you unlock the lichen of your lips.

You unlock the rust of your teeth.

Then you search for your tongue.

But there is no tongue.

Then you want to utter a word.

But your mouth is full of ashes.


And instead of a word

a lump of ashes rolls down

your blackened throat.

So you throw away the rusty key.


Then you make a new language of the earth.

A language that speaks words of clay.

Translated by Erica Johnson Debeljak