[What’s one of your dead telling you,]

Radu Vancu

Translated from Romanian by Tara Skurtu and the author

What’s one of your dead telling you,
the dearest, the most beloved among the dead,
when your heart lets you dream him:

“Dear, it’s already started here.
It can’t take long
before it also starts with you.

Prisms of dried clay burst day and night
like champagne corks
over the dead they cover.

Those covered by the driest grass
ignite and illuminate like tracers.
At least mine lit up like this.

We suicides—each of us woke
just as we’d done ourselves in;
one with a knife in the heart,

another with a bullet in his brains,
another with opened veins.
We work hard at image.

I received the same frayed undershirt
I wore when I hanged myself.
Now I’m waiting for you, rope around my throat—

but the raffia was ordered to bloom,
so God paints butterflies
on every petal of this flowery noose,

carefully as if he were
my best friend
shaving me for my wedding.”

Here you wake. Cami sleeps peacefully,
her Tweety pajamas rising and slowly falling—
from the crib, one can hear the snot engine

in Sebastian’s little nose.
As usual, after the disaster
the world is perfect.

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