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Petre StoicaListen

translated from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin & Ioana Ieronim



long night endless night
insomnia steals in through the keyhole
steals in through the chimney licked by the moon
steals in through the switch on the bedside lamp steals in
through the weave of the curtain

escaped from the wardrobe a vulture
drinks the last drop of water
under the window a horse keeps neighing
in the attic the scrape and gnaw of rats

you’ve been betrayed by your lover by poetry by Flemish painters
you’ve even been betrayed by an orange’s scent
nobody throws you a life jacket
in this night this dreamlike fiesta

insomnia endless insomnia

and all at once the bells’ tolling at dawn
rattles the window and the bed the walls
crash down on top of you
and you fall asleep amidst the rubble of the hours


the dead of this house

eternalized in slightly dusty frames
they wait for contemplation maybe pity
on the part of the guest lodged in the main room

one of them used to be a rich farmer
married to a peasant woman who was rich as well
another worked in offices in the city the tip
of a gold tie pin still gleams
yet another served his country as
a courier in a horse relay his stallion
strains forward ready to jump out of the frame

and yet another
my grandfather’s cousin’s brother-in-law
wandered Europe his whole life
returning home at a ripe old age
with a bunch of violets




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