Andra Rotaru

 

 

(Romania)

 

 

 

At night, lemurs and humans glide closer each other

 

young bodies steal

past old bodies.

the fragrance of milk changes over to a more pungent fragrance,

the fragrance of wine.

the prosimians sniff. they bite at the wrists.

they bite at the arms that have carried them all that way.

 

 

 

the bodies hang low. giant bellies split open,

 

on each side of the road.

the carcasses resting.

from afar they appear like heaps of spoilt apples.

on the other side of the road, the fresh corpses.

they look like red apples, fleshy, alive.

a white fluid is seeping through them.

their barely discernible mouths are agape.

their rotund contours.

 

water bursts out of their nostrils, floods the dry flesh.

 

 

 

New

 

you’re unripe,

in a beautiful house, after a long, long time. it has barely come to an end –

the filling up of empty objects with full ones, they’ve been barely removed –

the old edges. in perfect cleanliness, their subdued laughter,

their walking on tiptoes. at each of my footfalls they rear

their heads. they are stretching themselves on my chest as the heart straightens itself

like an old man in a desert. that’s where I stay with them when

the midday sun is shining at its brightest.

their muzzles warm, ask leave to change my unbreathable air.

 

I breathe into their nostrils, they carry on the breeze.

here’s where the arid lands come to an end.

 

in a lovely house I have no time

to roam. nor time to wait, to lay my hand

upon your heads, to feel the tender texture of your fur.

I only have the time to move along, to close the brand-new doors,

to sprinkle the ancient dry edges

with fruit squashed in my fist, as if

the craving flaring up for tender bodies

come to an end

 

 

 

Silence

 

he broke free from the worst of all places and moved on.

towards noon the distance from members to the sky

is so narrow

that eyes are filling with the crumb of fresh loaves.

 

that isn’t sleep,

a beast is bleating in the distance; reaching to it,

a light pierces the thicket mile after mile.

 

*

 

he’d wrapped a length of cloth around his neck to hear himself no more

while watching the gestures of females

and the pups they were cradling.

 

whenever the wind blew, the membrane would come loose from his neck

– they’d be heard tenfold as loud

from within their tanned hides –

 

he would just squat and wait,

while rolling in his palms the soft alveoli

until they gave way.

the welding between them appeared to be eroded in those moments

 

when

he was driving

the first beings

silencewards

 

 

* from Lemur, by Andra Rotaru, editura Cartea Românească, 2012

 

 

* English translation: Forin Bican

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________

 

Andra Rotaru (1980, Bucharest, Romania). The intersection of arts has always been one of her major interests, and she initiated collaborations at the intersection of poetry and choreography (the dance performance Lemur, presented in US and across Europe by the choreographer Robert Tyree), poetry and fiction and video (the documentary All Together, made during International Writing Program 2014, Iowa University), photography (Photo-letter pairing, involving the Iowa community and the IWP writers). Has held readings, panels and literary presentations in New York (NY), Chicago (IL), Portland (OR), Iowa (IA), Dubuque (IA), Cedar Rapids (IA), Mexico City (Mexico), Puebla (Mexico) and across Europe, and her poems appeared in translation in English, French, Swedish, Macedonian, Spanish, Catalan, Serbian, Italian, English, Arabic, Hebrew, Irish, Czech, Bulgarian etc. Published books: Într-un pat sub cearșaful alb/ In a bed under the white sheet (2005; 2015); En una cama bajo la sábana blanca (the translation of the debut volume into Spanish, 2008); Ținuturile sudului/Southern Lands (2010); Lemur (2012). Lemur was awarded The best book of the year at The Writers` Gala in Bucharest (2013).  This autumn, Lemur is published in USA by Action Books.

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