Debeljak Aleš:
Accross The River, To The East

Iz was a young buck, that rushed across the clearing. A long-ago

shot on the bridge in the middle of the town, which, dying away, echoes in your brain.

But it doesn’t matter. Water drips over the weir. The master of passages in a massive

villa above the confluence of rivers rolls over in restless sleep. The echo

of his every step rings emptily. The band in the park falls silent. And you, who walked

through camps and long Russian winters, slide silently past guards

who are looking the other way. You slip quickly across the courtyard

floored with gray bones. Long ago you crossed the ultimate


frontier. You learned the world’s basic rules. He survives     who

knows how to accept the painful gift. Don’t look at the patterns on the ceiling.

Strike the way most only dream; so that the skull cracks like vanilla


wafers. Strike. So that, on the glistering razor’s edge, angels will moan and the passion

in youthful veins will stop dead. Let our people recognize themselves in their open

wounds, if there’s no other way, let the last citadel finally fall.

Translated by Andrew Wachtel