Daniela Crăsnaru


Sea-level zero



Sea-level zero

To know you are here, at this point, at sea-level zero of luck,

unable to do anything, promising everything, with the recklessness of a teenager,

now, in your forties, when your sole freedom is that

of remembering.

You’ve been in this hotel before, from exactly this same place you’ve stared out over the roofs,

the rain, the dust, the undulations of the walls.

With your tongue you collect the salty wetness from the corners of your mouth,
you don’t know when it was you cried,

you close your eyes but that doesn’t solve anything, because you are here,

at sea-level zero of luck, lying to others and lying to yourself, spring will come.

But already it’s gone, it took place yesterday, it lasted from three to three-thirty.  No,
that can’t be true,

you’re shouting, there’s still time, I promise you, you’re sobbing,
in your arms you hug the pillow tight,

and with it, in the darkness of your room, the thousand women from your memory.

No, that can’t be true, but yes, of course it is, the thousand happy days of your life

for which you can’t find a suitable word.

“You can’t find anything in this house,” the woman shouts from the kitchen, “nobody

takes care of anything here,” then the door slammed shut, the hail of words

which make you sick, you feel your heart tumbling in your chest, the air thinner and thinner,

a throbbing at the temples.

               . . . You’ll get dressed and you’ll leave.  But not now.

Now, in slow motion, you’re repairing the bathroom faucet,

you’re watching your hands and then, only then, you remember

your double existence, with happiness, with humiliation,
because everything has taken place before,

hasn’t it?  The journey through the mountains, in some other season,
with some other woman beside you,

everything has taken place before, the tears, yes, and the knot in your throat, the explosion
of the aorta.  It doesn’t mean anything.

Spring will come, you repeat to yourself, the same spring from twenty-five years ago,

from last year, because your sole freedom, here, at sea-level zero of luck,

is remembering.

The same as ten years ago, as last year, you’ll get dressed and you’ll leave.

But not now.  Another time.  Whenever.  Someday.



                                                                                       translated by Adam J. Sorkin and the poet





My nerves are silent

their blaze was once rosy.

Now it’s gray.


Some time ago

I said with proud voluptuousness:

the body—my only heresy.

But all heresies come to an end

by acknowledging dogma

by finally making covenant with the consuming fire

until you cease to feel it.

My body has itself forgotten that frenetic conjugation

being, to be.


Its flesh

for such a long time has not been flesh

sacred letters are tattooed

all over its skin:

it is purely a sentence (with predicate impossible to find)

in my own mind.



                                                                        translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Ioana Ieronim







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