nthposition online magazine

Z213: Exit (extract)

by Dimitris Lyacos

[ poetry - november 06 ]

Translated from the Greek by Shorsha Sullivan, who studied Classics and has a special interest in Modern Greek theatre and poetry.

 

A few hours more, station, deserted, a dirt road for inside the town, mud, mud, blankets outside, mouldering houses of tin, the shattered pylon further behind, not even a car, rubbish, two children setting fire to a heap, two or three other fires on the horizon, houses, the stench more sour, pieces and pieces of asphalt, houses of cement blocks, few people, half-open doors, half-light, the mattress as if it were soaked, that milk, the cramp in the stomach and dizziness, when I awoke, the light already dimmed, got up straightaway, walked quickly, asked questions, it was on the other side, back again to the bridge, the murmur of water, the trees blackening but I could still see, as soon as I went in I found it, the first tomb on the right. The murmuring, cigarette, what are you doing here, if I sit now beside you, did you die beautiful, cleansed from all that, were the hours long, terrible, and then the bells, the voices as they lowered you down, that pause at the end. I am cold, I walk among other names, photos that look at you and they do not see, the sun now exhausted again. On the road back, on the plain, a breath, tepid, as a last breath, and a gleam, the river falling behind, the town mute as before, with some wine on the end of a table, the bible being erased, between its pages the words of a stranger, between him I write wherever I find a no-man's land.