Memory Tugs the Arm
Tomaž Šalamun

No diary. No wires. No splashing.

When you take a newborn out of a bathtub,

he watches, he doesn’t bathe, you roll


his little body in the light gray green towel.

Or do you only blot him? It’s no good to think.  

Whales open their day planners on the Atlantic.


Do they bind feet and veins? There was no glass.

Before there was glass, there was alabaster.

Saints, lined up as under a kind of soap.


The sky had to pant and pant. On the third

fifth of the bridge toward Vendée it pierced

through the clouds. Not only. In the form


of the sun. Not as the sun. As its light.

And even this one only reflects, glittering                  

on the upper epidermis of the Loire surface,


in the space that flared up. It differentiates

between the first and the second,

and also between the seventh, the eighth


and the ninth girder. I saw it and typed it up.       

As if I’d play with a rein. As if I’d carry

the late twentieth century technological



diamonds, cranberries, an inured position,                   

how to wake up the horse from the golden


carriage from my eyes oriented toward

the East. I strew no peas on the steamers.

Light flares up by itself, when it wishes.                    


Translated from the Slovenian by Thomas Kane and the author