The Rain Motif
The Rain Motif
It was raining, so this could have
chased by the big raindrops I ducked
under the eaves to seek shelter:
there she stood, indifferent, as if
waiting for me,
nibbling on the heel of a baguette.
She eyed me a few moments,
broke off a piece of the crust, and
offered it. I accepted.
In the hotel room, later, she never
ate anything in the evenings (and no bread all day),
in the afternoon a few small, sour
she bit hungrily—the crackle her teeth
made when she tore the apple
split the silence between us in two
my silence, edgy and oversensitive,
and her silence, so restful.
It was well after the end of the
almost all the hotels were closed, in
restaurants some two, three patrons only
we played a game that was our
invention—one of us would pose a question, the other would answer
something quite different, then we’d search our dialogue for a
meaning. One time I told her, “In a week or two I’ll phone them.” She
replied, “As for me, I’m here now. You’ll never be able to root me out
from your memory”
the beach deserted . . .
we were talking now about nothing at
all, but, the same as always,
biting, you divided our intentions in
the words we were tossing from one to
the other indifferently,
and our hidden thoughts, communing in
The rain stopped, we parted there
under the eaves,
I stepped onto the sidewalk into an
uncertain night, as if onto a rotten plank that, when you stepped on
might break under your foot, and you’d
plummet into the void.
translated by Adam J.
Sorkin and Mircea Ivănescu
For quite a number of years, I lived
just about every day of my life among the things in the room with its
own separate entrance; I’ve been gone from this room for even more
years. This is where I slept the sleep of youth, where I gave free
rein to my desires or held them in check with the bit; among these
things, on not a few occasions, I let myself make fun of what is good
and beautiful. I lie here on the bed which takes up half the room and
look at the things around me, I’m completely at ease as I look at them
and, looking at them, unexpectedly, I feel something like an inward
joy. My memory tells me what I should feel were I to touch them with
my hands the very next instant—I’ve done it so often, in an abundance
of gestures which had a totally different purpose than the knowledge
of things: to find out whether there might be heat in the room I’d lay
the palm of my hand on the radiator, to determine whether the dampness
had spread I’d touch the wall on the side toward the courtyard; if I
wanted to wash my hands, I’d feel the moisture on the plastic faucet;
and when I felt the need to let some fresh air in, my hand would grasp
the handle of the window and turn it a little to the left. If I wanted
to leave the room, I’d press the door handle gently and push the door.
Now, looking at the wall from my bed,
I know that if I touch it, I’ll feel the roughness of the painted
plaster, and when I touch the radiator with my hand, namely in that
particular place easiest to reach from my horizontal position, my hand
will be pricked by a burr in the cast iron. I’ll turn the faucet: it
will make a few revolutions before the water suddenly starts to flow.
The window handle will resist for a few moments, then the mechanism
functions; the entrance door handle, pressed with the heel of the
hand, triggers a shrill whine.
From my comfortable double bed, I know
that precisely all of this will happen; musing thus, I absentmindedly
run my hand over the carpet hanging as a decoration on the eastern
wall and I can feel the dust that for years has settled in its
weave—yes, this sensation is perfectly familiar to me. And I feel
something like an inward joy.
translated by Adam J.
Sorkin and Bogdan Ştefănescu