Debeljak Aleš:
A Hunter’s Path

You will sail to the distant Danube through narrow river channels.

Drizzle. Gravestones and monuments. Creamy fog.

Under the glassy dome of the eternal empire a hawk

swoops down on its tiny prey. It escapes your eyes.

You will float beyond canals destroyed by unknown powers,

beneath the balconies of cloisters where ancient doomsday tomes reside.

You will cross frontiers, easily and without resistance, like a sneaky fox

you flit by the window sills. On the window frames fresh blood glistens


beneath layers of pastel paint. You are invited into the embrace

of unnamed villages, which sway with yearning after flaming

miracles. Pale old age will corrode you as you sail for many years.


Destruction and deliverance are nothing to you. You left no one at home.

You push forward to the stony walls of a fortress that faithfully waits

for the repetition of history’s final rite. A child’s breath will destroy it.

Translated by Andrew Wachtel